Writing that appeals to both young and old readers.
I have known for a long, long time (because I’m very, very old) that children are a lot smarter than many give them credit for. I believe they see things below the surface that cannot be seen by the “mature” mind of an adult. They “cut to the chase” and strip away the fabric to understand the individual stitch. In other words, they simplify the complex to get to the heart of things.
Conversely, the young reader can often miss deeper truths aligned within a story.
Conceptually, The Wild Ways – Mystery of the Hanging Tower, is a bit deeper than it appears on the surface. I think this is one reason this simple little book is enjoyed by adults as well as by children.
A good story will move at a comfortable pace for the reader; it has a beginning, middle, and an ending. At times, a story may begin at the end; at other times, it may be preceded with background information containing a “key” to the information about to be shared.
Such is the case with The Wild Ways series.
Character evolution is important. When we go through life, we are constantly changing from the experiences we live through. In this story, Chatter, the gray squirrel learns that he is not cowardly; Oscar, the little boy, is tempted to slide to the dark-side but regains his equilibrium through his contact with Ring, the raccoon.
Perhaps the greatest changes occur in Oscar’s friend, Larry, and the gopher named Archie. Larry’s experience in the swamp greatly affects his future and Archie undergoes a complete transition from his introduction to stories end.
The perceptive reader will see how circumstance changes perspective from how the character views himself and how others view the character while pointing out that we often attach mislabels to those we meet.
In future stories about the wild ways, you will learn that Oscar’s power is even greater than both he and Ring expected.