Tracy Sabin’s ‘The Secret of Four Notch’ is a welcome addition to Sabin’s children’s books as he writes for a new audience. In an absorbing adventure written for pre and early teens, Sabin begins to address the minefield of growing up and all it entails, from accepting change and new responsibilities to the concept of working for a living.
Caught up in his parent’s plans to move to Washington State, protagonist Danny is less than happy. Unable to shake his dismay at being ripped from his childhood home just as the summer holidays are about to begin, his mood motivates his actions as they spin out of control, culminating in a costly and terrifying mistake. Nevertheless, valuable lessons are learned and all is well in the end.
Interweaved with historical content, Sabin’s tale moves between the past, present and future with Danny as he resists change, pushes against responsibilities, and deals with difficult and even mean personalities. His reactions and subsequent experiences teach valuable lessons about negotiating the changes between child and adulthood.
Whilst Sabin does not hold ‘The Secret of Four Notch’ up as historically accurate, it is clear that extensive research has created an authentic representation of past times, with fascinating embedded detail of lived experiences, and how one time has impacted another. This valuable inclusion teaches both human history and its lessons as it brings the young reader closer to our natural habitat and an understanding of how close cooperation with our environment reaps optimal rewards whilst maintaining the earth for future generations.
However, despite its valuable content, ‘The Secret of Four Notch’ is written in an easy, accessible and enjoyable style for its target audience. With charming and thoughtfully drawn illustrations introducing each chapter, ‘ The Secret of Four Notch’ is a well-presented tale brimming with historical knowledge and interesting detail.
Tracy Sabin's new middle-grade historical/fantasy/time-travel novel is now available from Amazon and AppleBooks. The Secret of Four Notch places its characters in three distinct periods of Pacific Northwest history where they find themselves living the experience of those times, providing a unique narrative of contemporary characters in settings from dramatically different times and cultures. The Secret of Four Notch explores the impact of colonialism on an indigenous culture, the effect of unconstrained development on the environment, the importance of persistence and resilience in the face of rapid change and the powerful role of friendship when developing coping skills in a rapidly changing world.