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    Review of NIC NELSON AND THE DIAMONDS OF DENMARK by Dr. Derrik Richard, December 2005

    In a new town with no friends, sixth-grader Nic Nelson runs into the town bully and his gang. Which turns into a good thing because the bully has made a lot of enemies and some of those enemies are willing to take Nic under their wing. The bully won't stop his campaign of intimidation, but Nic learns to give as good as he gets. Meanwhile, Nic and his friends learn of a diamond theft--the famous diamonds of Denmark. The diamonds had been stolen twenty years earlier and the thief arrested at the house next door to Nic's, but the diamonds had never been recovered. Now someone is snooping around, asking questions--and Nic wonders if the thief or his friends are back.

    Finding diamonds fills only a small part of Nic's life, though (perhaps too small a part, considering the threat that the peculiar men hunting the diamonds represent). He's still adjusting to the death of his father, his mother's move to a new town, and his gradual transformation from child to a more responsible youth. Guided by wise council from the neighbor's butler, a former British Captain, a college student, and a mysterious Asian toy-store-owner, Nic learns that revenge calls only for more revenge, and that the 5 "C's"--cool, calm, collected, confident, and in control can help overcome any problems.

    Author Dr. Derrik Richard's light touch creates an adventure that will be approachable for young readers but that still has entertainment value for adults. He stresses the key role of friendship as children age and does an excellent job explaining the thought process behind many of the things kids do. Although Richard's sentence construction (and especially character attribution) is occasionally clunky, overall the story is engaging and approachable.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 5/11/06

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