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Danny and Life on Bluff Point:
Lost in the Dark

Mary Ellen Lee

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : iUniverse

Published : 2009

Copyright : Mary Ellen Lee 2009

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4401-4608-X
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4401-4608-4

Publisher's Write-Up

Danny and Life on Bluff Point - Book 3

The exciting third book in this charming series of historical novels for children, Danny and Life on Bluff Point: Lost in the Dark sees the adventures continue for ten-year-old Danny in 1890s rural upstate New York.

It's the winter of 1895 in Bluff Point, New York, and though chores and school continue, Danny manages to make time for fun. He and his family enjoy all that living in the country has to offer-ice skating, fishing, sledding, and even a winter party with friends and neighbours. Pa and Uncle Henry race their spirited teams and sleighs along the Ridge Road, and Danny is given his own small iceboat, one to be shared with Cousin Jay.

One day while out on the iceboat, Danny fails to pay attention to where he is and how far out onto the lake he's gone. He spends a chilly, windless night alone on the ice of Keuka Lake. Cold and frightened, Danny chooses the wrong direction in the moonless night and walks further away from home. Can Danny find his way back before the winter wind turns even colder?

Filled with wonderful, vivid details of late nineteenth century rural life, Danny and Life on Bluff Point: Lost in the Dark captures the innocence and warmth of days gone by.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Molly Martin (300618) Rating (9/10)

Review by Molly Martin
Book Source: Not Known
Rating 9/10

Mary Ellen Lee’s Danny and Life on Bluff Point: Lost in the Dark, is another in the series of historical novels written for children, especially the middle grade audience and those young adult and adult readers who enjoy historical fact driven works. Danny in the series is based on childhood memories and journals written by the author’s grandfather as he set down the situations, happenings and events of his childhood in the Finger Lakes region.

This component of the Danny escapades takes place in February of 1895 with winter playfulness and family chores continuing for Danny and the whole of his family. Lost in the Dark begins immediately after the adventure closes in the second book. Miss Spaulding, the school teacher, is still living with the Lee's, but Danny has accepted her presence as a way to gain more responsibility. They are living in a time when much of what a family uses is of their own making. Times are difficult, simple and filled with hard work as the whole family pitches in to eke out a living in a time when electricity, modes of travel and life in general is much different than today.

During winter water freezes allowing Danny to enjoy ice fishing. He also works with the men during the annual ice harvesting before the day of electric freezers and refrigerators ice was cut in blocks from frozen lakes, packed in sawdust and used later in the year during warmer weather to cool foods.

Danny is given the task of driving the horse team pulling the wagon stacked with ice. His quick wit actually makes him a bit of a hero.

All is not only work and toil; Pa and Uncle Henry race their spirited teams and sleighs along the Ridge Road. And, this book is full of ice adventures. The adults enjoy the thrill of racing across the ice in ice sail boats. The biggest surprise in the story is when Pa, Danny's father, and Uncle Jerome build a smaller sized ice sail boat, especially for Danny. Danny is pleased to be given his own small iceboat, which is to be shared with Cousin Jay for use on the nearby lake.

While enjoying the ice sail boat, Danny starts to daydream, gets distracted, and realises himself in a really frightening situation.

Danny and Life on Bluff Point: Lost in the Dark is the third book of the Danny and Life on Bluff Point series. This semi fictionalized series is based upon the real journals of the author's grandfather.

Ten year old Danny dreams about becoming tall and strong like his father. The boy has an older sister Ruthie who used to be a lot of fun but is now more interested in girly stuff and he has two younger sisters Mary and Carolyn who at the time are still just a little young to be a friend to Danny.

In each book, Danny shares his dreams and adventures as well as his challenges and successes. Thus, each book actually contains several smaller stories that lead up to the main dramatic event.

With the childlike thinking of a youngster his age, fails to pay attention to what is happening around him and spends a cold windless night, alone on Keuka Lake ice. Danny chooses the wrong direction in the moonless night and walks further away from home. He decides to try to hide his ice boating mistakes from Ma and Pa.

With his parents’ guidance and patience, Danny comes to realize falsehoods are actually of no help when a mistake or carelessness has taken place and accepting responsibility for his actions is the best policy.

Family dynamics, chores, responsibility, expectations, parental guidance, all are a part of family life today as it was in 1895; many aspects have changed some, however, today’s kids are allowed a peek into the life lived in our country over a century ago.

I received several of the series during the two years I taught fourth grade; Social Studies, History, came alive in our classroom as I began reading the Danny books. As I began reading, the class, five girls and five boys were not at all sure they would find the books to their liking. Soon the 15 minute period I set aside for reading aloud to the class following our noon recess was thought not nearly long enough by those ten middlers.

The series became one of the most favoured of the class for reading during their DEAR drop everything and read daily reading activity, and for taking home to read with family during the evening.

I too enjoy history, have read a good many journals written by others and now available for our reading many years after the scribes have expired and their memory is kept alive in part by the journals they kept.

Enjoyed the thought provoking, entertaining, inspiring reading, happy to recommend.
Molly Martin (30th June 2018)

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