“THE KID’S GUIDE TO ACADIA NATIONAL PARK”

If you think the ideal vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it, then you’ve never taken the kids to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. If families can’t have fun there, they’d better just stay home.

Award-winning author and family travel expert Eileen Ogintz offers a delightful kids’ (and adult) guide to fun times in ANP and MDI, with 10 chapters useful for planning a vacation trip, as well as a handy resource of things to do and see once there.

Ogintz focuses of things that children will enjoy, but adults would like them just as much. She covers park passes and fees, places to visit like the Mount Desert Oceanarium and Natural History Museum, along with an afternoon sail aboard the four-masted schooner Margaret Todd and an outdoor movie in Bar Harbor’s Agamont Park (free popcorn!).

Other sections include helpful tips on staying safe while hiking, biking and riding horses; what to do if a child becomes lost; educational sections on whales, birds, trees, geology; how to pack for a hike and a picnic; and what to do on a rainy day on MDI.

She even includes a series of fun Maine-related puzzles and games (word-search, matching, maze, crosswords and a de-coder), suggestions for trying something new to eat (lobster, blueberries, whoopie pies and popovers) and how to become a Junior Park Ranger.

Learn about “Rockefeller’s Teeth,” what a stone cairn really is and what it means, and why you shouldn’t stand too close to Thunder Hole. As Kevin Heath advises: “In the end, kids won’t remember that fancy toy or game you bought them — they will remember the time you spent with them.” And a trip to Acadia and MDI will provide those wonderful memories.

 

“RAGGED ISLAND: AN ISLAND MYSTERY”

Gil Hodges is a forestry professor at the University of Maine. He is also a drunk, a coed-chasing campus Lothario and a hapless sap involved with multiple murders, a stalking nutcase and an island full of people who hate his guts. And now the cops want to talk to him.

“Ragged Island” is the third volume in award-winning Maine author Darcy Scott’s “Island Mystery” trilogy, after “Matinicus” (2012) and “Reese’s Leap” (2013). This volume, however, doesn’t measure up to the first two books in the series. Loaded with profanity, there hasn’t been this much foul language in a Maine novel since William Carpenter’s “Wooden Nickel” (2003). And this story relies so heavily on earlier events in “Matinicus” that readers really should read the first book to make sense of this confusing sequel.

When Gil finds a bloody severed finger on his office desk and a psychotic stalker shows up in his classroom, he is forced to confront his participation in a three-murder cover-up on the island of Matinicus three years before. Dodging the police, Gil’s guilt and curiosity drive him back to Matinicus where the islanders remember him too well, blame him for the earlier deaths and hate him for it. And his stalker follows.

As Gil struggles with the truth of the previous killings, he soon finds himself a target, involved with more murders, a drug-smuggling scheme and an island woman from the past who is intent on causing as much pain and harm as possible to everyone.

Once again, Gil and the islanders conspire in a complex criminal cover-up (no police invited), because island justice “must include an equal dose of retribution.” And Scott’s grim and unflattering portrayal of Matinicus will certainly discourage any tourist visits. Outsiders, including Gil, are not welcome.

 

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.


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