Posted by: Nyxks | April 17, 2007

The Burning Pendulum

The Burning Pendulum
by Dotti Enderle © 2005
Llewellyn
ISBN 0-7387-435-0
144 pages + Preview of Book 8
Paperback
$4.99 (U.S.) $6.50 (Canada)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleanson

This is the seventh book in the „Fortune Teller‚s Club‰ series by Dotti Enderle (aimed at the 8 to 12 age group). Juniper, Gena and Anne once again find themselves in a bind (actually, this time it is almost all on Juniper). This misadventure starts out so innocently. The middle school is looking for donations for their library and Juniper wants to donate her favorite series of books. The series deals with a group of psychic teenagers who solve mysteries (gee, I wonder where that idea came from?). In the course of giving a book report on the series, she demonstrates how to use a pendulum.

The mother of one of her classmates feels a need to protect children from „wicked literature,‰ and goes so far as accusing Juniper of devil worship and demanding that she be expelled from school. When the Principal does not act quickly enough for her, she starts a petition drive, and brings the subject up to the school board.

Juniper‚s mother is incensed ˆ not by the fact that Juniper wants to donate the books (she‚s fine with that), but by the fact that the Principal has „asked‰ (required) Juniper to select a different book for the library so the problem will go away. The entire concept of book banning offends her.

Juniper‚s life is thrown into turmoil. Her mother is fuming, her classmates are split, her younger brother is being harassed. And all of this happens because of a book. She has an ally in the Librarian., who refuses to allow the Principal to remove the books from the shelves until the School Board can make a ruling. She supports Juniper so much that she assigns a research project on banned books to her.

The offended parent not only wants the books removed and Juniper suspended, she would like to see the entire family out of town, for the „safety‰ of the children. Her agenda boils over into the community as she starts her petition drive. Juniper, in the meantime, would just like for it all to go away, but she knows that nothing will happen until the next School Board meeting.

While using a newly created divinatory system (one of the on-going themes in this series is that divinatory systems should be individualized and personalized), she gets a clue to an unexpected answer. She tells no one about the answer, but then uses it to save the day ˆ and her own school career.

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