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Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 by

One book review rarely says it all, but we thought poet and children’s author Tony Crunk’s observations about Ted Dunagan’s new young adult novel Trouble on the Tombigbee came close. In a recent online edition of First Draft magazine, calling Dunagan’s novel “a ripping good yarn for any reader.”

Crunk also lauds Dunagan’s depiction of the book’s protagonists, young Ted and Poudlum, friends in 1940s Alabama despite that one is white and one is black.

In Dunagan’s book, Crunk writes, “the two boys really do function as equals. They are equally clever, equally thoughtful and sensitive, and, most importantly, equally dependent on each other. They enact a model of inter-racial mutuality that defies the social prejudices of their time and place, and that could well serve as an ideal for the generation soon to emerge from that time and place … This subtlety will not be lost on the novel’s more sophisticated readers.”

Trouble on the Tombigbee is Dunagan’s third young adult novel about Ted and Poudlum, following A Yellow Watermelon and Secret of the Satilfa. Dunagan is a two-time Georgia Author of the Year award winner for his young adult novels; the Georgia Center for the Book included A Yellow Watermelon on their inaugural list of 25 Books Every Young Georgian Should Read. Dunagan also writes features and columns for The Monticello News in Monticello, Georgia.

At the end of Crunk’s review, he noted that “apart from [Tombigbee‘s] political message … the action is swift and exciting [and] the characters are complex and engaging. … The river itself becomes an immutable presence, offering both hazard and refuge, and thus serving as a near perfect setting for this coming of age tale.” You can read Tony Crunk’s full review at the First Draft website.

A Yellow Watermelon, Secret of the Satilfa, and Trouble on the Tombigbee are all available in print and ebook formats direct from NewSouth Books or from your favorite bookstore.

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