Flight of the Grizzly
A routine plane ride turns into an exciting -- and dangerous -- adventure for a young girl. Jessie is familiar with small seaplanes. After all, she was born in one eleven years ago, and her father makes his living flying them over the forests and lakes of Canada's Northwest Coast. She has been aboard on many flights but this one was different. It was a routine trip until an engine caught fire and Jessie's father was forced to ditch the plane in Petrel Channel. While her father tinkers with the engine and calls for help, Jessie and her Native friend George explore the forest where they come across old totem poles hidden amidst the trees. George explains the meanings of the figures on the totem poles and some of his tribe's stories. Soon they hear the sound of another seaplane, a "Norseman", which has come to the rescue. Everyone boards the plane but it's a tight squeeze. There is an extra, very large passenger: a grizzly bear. It is tranquilized at the moment but as the plane takes off and the bear begins to stir, the zoo director accompanying the animal admits that perhaps he didn't administer enough sedative... For his part, the director of the zoo was curled up on his bench seat, trembling with fear. The steady bump of the floats hitting the waves told me that we had touched water. Ned cut the gas. The Norseman began to slow down. It was then that the grizzly succeeded in extricating itself from the net and stood up on its paws. There was not a second to lose! "Run!" Ned shouted, detaching his safety belt. He had opened the door on his side of the cabin and jumped into the water head first. I was frightened by the growling bear, who was grabbing onto the bench seats all around, and I wasn't able to unlock my door. A frightening sequence of events follows and soon Jessie is forced to fly the plane by herself. Fortunately, she is familiar with seaplanes, and saves the group. At the end, there are six pages of factual information about Northwest Aboriginal life. Filled with exciting action, and an interesting side trip through the significant totem poles, this adventure story will engage young readers.