Future Reflections          Cane Travel and Independence

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The Night Search

by Kate Chamberlin and Illustrated by Dot Yoder
©1997, Jason and Nordic Publishers

Review by Peggy Chong

Reprinted from Future Reflections Volume 19, Number 2.

Front cover of The Night SearchHeather is a blind girl who is going on a family camping vacation with her new pet, Crackers, a puppy. Heather does not want to take her cane on the trip. She thinks it is stupid. But Mom brings the cane along anyway.

Heather’s mother tries to convince Heather to use her cane, reminding Heather that Crackers is just the family puppy, not a trained guide dog. But Heather, who has been to the camp many times, believes that she can find her way around the camp just fine without her cane.

The first night, after everyone is in bed, Heather has to take the new puppy out into the rain. Heather decides, since she has to go out anyway, to go up the path to the bathrooms. She does not take her “stupid” cane. While Heather is in the bathroom, Crackers runs away. Heather sets out to search for him. She remembers he loved going to the pond earlier that day, so she heads down the path toward the pond.

Heather tries to use all the other alternative travel techniques she has learned from her travel teacher. She listens for the sounds of her puppy, and finds the path to the pond by the smell of the pine trees. But she has a difficult time finding her way and is soon frustrated. First, she steps in a mud puddle, then she trips over a hump of grass, and then she falls over a rock and hurts her hands. Heather begins to wish for her cane back at camp.

She finally reaches the pond and steps in at the edge. She calls again for Crackers. She hears Crackers, but he will not come. When Heather finally finds him, she discovers that Crackers’s leash has gotten tangled with a log. Heather frees her puppy, and they both turn to walk back. But Heather trips again and falls to her knees. Under her fingers, she finds a long stick. Heather happily picks up the long stick and makes her way quickly and safely back to the cabin.

This delightful little thirty-two-page story for young children has print and Braille text with color illustrations. It is not only a wonderful story for kids, but I also think it might be a great story for many blind adults who are struggling with the idea of carrying a cane. Orientation and mobility instructors should find the book useful as a way to introduce discussions about the cane to their students.

Editor’s Note: This gem of a book is available from BarnesandNoble.com for $8.95.

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