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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Have you ever known a car that could talk? Or, for that matter, a car that could be a deputy police officer? Well, if you say ‘no’ to either question, you haven’t met Wreck. He’s the old car that Sheriff Harry uses to drive around Pondville. Only problem is, Wreck is getting old and his parts, most of them, need replacing. Every jolt hurts him to the core and there’s nothing to be done but fix and replace him to make him brand new again, or at least close to brand new. It’s going to be a big job and there will be some hurdles to overcome. There's a whole lot of fellowship amongst the team of police officers (and members of the community, too) so it’s a job worth doing – for Wreck’s sake and for the police department’s sake.
Dr. Robert A. Ernst’s middle grade novel, Harry Saves Wreck, is a fun read. Creating characters that are really nature’s creatures who live around a pond, the author has developed a series of stories based on what he calls Pondville (the real place is called Foxhill Acres and it’s in Nova Scotia, Canada). There’s Harry, Sally, and Charlie who are frogs, Bart who’s a bear, Kim the deer, Bernie the goose, and others, too. Each character is well developed with its own unique characteristics, but the special thing that ties the characters together in this story is their friendship, their ability to work together, and the way they care for each other and the environment. Wreck, the sheriff’s old car, might be a good fit for the wrecking yard, but the team players come up with a plan and the means to make the car new (or almost new) again – reusing and recycling at its best instead of discarding in the dump. The plot follows this plan to help Wreck as the team encounters multiple adventures along the way – it is, after all, a cop story to the core. There are delightful drawings to help move the story forward and the dialogue is carefree and whimsical, often with a touch of humor. This is a great read for middle-grade readers.