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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Crabapple Gang: The Gift of Dane Volume 1 by David C. Baxter is a children's book full of adventure and childhood. Dane and his friends live in a quiet neighborhood where not much ever happens ... until one night when he's recording a storm and catches evidence of a mysterious car with flashing lights parked at the neighbor's house they call Mad Murry. After discovering a strange symbol on a bracelet they found, the group of friends are determined to investigate the house and prove their conspiracies are true. Could their neighbor have really been a mad scientist? Is someone really after them? They'll have to work together to find out the truth.
The Crabapple Gang is about friendship and adventure with a group of kids that go on an adventure, and deal with bullies and family circumstances with witty banter and a quick pace. A lot of the scenes brought to mind films like The Goonies or The Apple Dumpling Gang where they're coming up with conspiracy ideas, and schemes like sneaking into the pool. The friends are delightful with different struggles, strengths, and smarts, but they're all loyal and creative. Dane is a strong and compelling hero, and kids will find a connection with him on different levels. His parents fight, he has a limp, he's bullied, but he's also smart, creative, and loves to learn. David C. Baxter's writing and characters are strong and endearing. The book is aimed at kids, but anyone can enjoy the story and the heart. A must-read!