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The excellent dialogue and the realistic relationships between adults and children make this good fiction and, face it, there is nothing funnier than a full skunk in brisk action at this age level.

Kirkus Reviews

The Outcasts

Daniel P Mannix

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Eleven year old Dana Martin faces relentless ridicule by a new group of students at his school who make fun of his name and take advantage of his small stature. The group of boys called the Green Street Counts are also thought to be responsible for vandalism in Dana's neighborhood and have killed trees and torn loose some of the old wrought-iron railings around the steps of the old brownstone houses. When the teasing escalates and the taunting comes to blows, Dana must defend himself and returns home battered by his opponent's knuckles.

Fed up with the fights and the change in their neighborhood, Dana's parents have been searching for a country home they can afford. So when the opportunity comes to move to the huntsman's residence on an old estate, the family eagerly leaves the city.

Dana is immediately entranced by the old house made of red brick, its tall chimney and thick ivy, the kennels for dogs and stalls for horses, and, most of all, the great trees and acres of woods and fields waiting to be explored. Late one afternoon Dana is trying to find his way home when he is surprised by a stranger ― a stranger with lush black fur and two broad white stripes running down his back. As the the small animal stares at Dana with black-button eyes, he raises his bushy tail and beats a little tattoo on the ground with his forefeet. Dana hasn't a clue what to do and as he steps toward the harmless, kitten-like creature, he is summarily and thoroughly, skunked! In spite of their malodorous introduction, Dana later rescues the skunk from a leg-hold trap and a rapport between the two outcasts is forged.

Charmingly and insightfully told, their story bears witness to the power of friendship ― a bond that has the capacity to heal and to reveal the hidden potential inherent in each.

The Outcasts - cover

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