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Some book sequels are winners, but others fail to hit the mark

SHARE Some book sequels are winners, but others fail to hit the mark

Sequels often follow successful and award-winning novels for young readers. Some sequels extend the story, and the reader welcomes the further development of the plot and the expansion of the characters. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and some second stories in a sequence are not as satisfying as the first. Examples are seen in two sequels this season. "Team Picture" by Dean Hughes follows "Family Pose," a successful story of an unusual relationship. Both are worthy reads.

However, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "Shiloh Season," the sequel to Newbery Medal Winner, "Shiloh," lacks the verve and energy of its predecessor.TEAM PICTURE by Dean Hughes, 155 pages, Atheneum, $16.

In the first book, "Family Pose," (which I consider this Utah author's best young adult book) Paul, a single foster parent, befriends a young runaway, David. Both find some level of potential in each other's company. In "Team Picture," that potential is expanded when David becomes a good student and a star pitcher for a pony league baseball team. But in his determination to take the team to a championship, he brushes aside the worth of all other team members. Paul tries to warn him of his contribution to the loss of "team spirit." David listens but is belligerent: "David knew he was mostly just saying what Paul wanted to hear."

Parallel to David's arrogance on the team, Paul breaks his word to stay sober, and they both know that the local social services agency might not allow them to stay together.

"Team Picture" is a welcome addition to Paul and David's story, but readers will hope that it is not the final one. With such a powerful message about two young men struggling in today's society, there is much more to disclose. Hughes can be the one to do it.

SHILOH SEASON by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, 120 pages, Atheneum, $14.95 follows Marty as he now works and barters for the life of his beloved dog, Shiloh, who was beaten by a neighbor, Judd. The story about a boy and his dog is a heart-warming one that touched many who love animals and detest their mistreatment.

One issue that made the first book such an emotional work was Marty's silence about Judd's breaking the law in poaching a deer out of season. Upholding a promise, telling the truth and breaking the law were all social and moral issues that were brilliantly disclosed in the award-winning novel. Many of these issues were discussed in classrooms following the reading of "Shiloh."

The sequel lacks that edge. While the reader may find this story satisfying, it's not much more than that. Young readers will turn back to the first book time and time again to find the real story of Marty and Shiloh.