Safe As Houses

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Safe As Houses

by Eric Walters

Doubleday Canada | January 6, 2009 | Mass Market Paperbound

4.9167 out of 5 rating. 12 Reviews
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The date is October 15, 1954. Thirteen-year-old Elizabeth, who lives in the Toronto suburb of Weston, is a typical grade 8 girl. She has a secret crush on a boy in her class and she thinks Elvis Presley is "dreamy." Elizabeth also has a part-time job babysitting an adorable little grade 2 girl named Suzie, and Suzie's not-so-adorable grade 6 brother, David. Elizabeth's job is to walk Suzie and David home after school and then stay at their house with them until their mother gets home from work. David resents Elizabeth because he thinks he is too old for a babysitter, and he goes out of his way to make life miserable for her.

On this particular evening, however, Elizabeth has more than a badly behaved boy to contend with. It is on this October night that Hurricane Hazel roars down on Toronto, bringing torrential rains that cause extensive flooding. David and Suzie's house is on Raymore Drive, a street that will be practically wiped out by the floodwaters.

David and Suzie's parents are unable to reach the house, which means the children's safety on this most deadly of nights is Elizabeth's responsibility. She finds herself increasingly isolated. They are surrounded by rising water. The electricity goes out. The phone goes dead. Still, Elizabeth is sure they will be safe as long as they remain in the house.

But are Elizabeth and the children really as "safe as houses"? Before this terrifying night is over, Elizabeth and David will have to learn to communicate and cooperate if they are to save their own lives and Suzie's. Their survival in the midst of one of Canada's worst disasters will depend upon their resourcefulness, maturity and courage.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 176 pages, 6.85 × 4.15 × 0.46 in

Published: January 6, 2009

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 140002529X

ISBN - 13: 9781400025299

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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– More About This Product –

Safe As Houses

by Eric Walters

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 176 pages, 6.85 × 4.15 × 0.46 in

Published: January 6, 2009

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 140002529X

ISBN - 13: 9781400025299

Read from the Book

chapter one – Suzie and I huddled beneath the umbrella. It gave us at least some protection from the rain that had been coming down in buckets all day. The whole schoolyard was filled with kids bobbing about under umbrellas or in bright yellow slickers. A few of the boys from my Grade 8 class just turned up the collars of their denim jackets, like the rain wasn’t any great inconvenience. They were too busy trying to look cool to even attempt to stay dry. Most of them were all wet even when it wasn’t raining . . . although a few of them were cool even without the jacket. I looked around. I was waiting for Suzie’s brother David, but I was hoping to catch sight of Donnie Davis. He was nowhere to be seen. Too bad. Almost everybody was rushing to get away from the rain and home or to a friend’s house. All my friends were going over to Debbie’s to listen to some 45s on her new record player. Debbie had all the new songs–“Shake, Rattle and Roll” by Bill Haley, both versions of “Sh-­Boom,” by the Chords and by the Crew-Cuts, and “That’s All Right” by Elvis Presley . . . Elvis was so dreamy . . . he would have been my favourite even if he couldn’t sing. I sighed. I hadn’t even been invited. Everybody knew there was no point. I couldn’t go, and asking me would have been cruel. Instead I was standing here, my saddle shoes soaked through, waiting. Couldn’t David ever get here
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From the Publisher

The date is October 15, 1954. Thirteen-year-old Elizabeth, who lives in the Toronto suburb of Weston, is a typical grade 8 girl. She has a secret crush on a boy in her class and she thinks Elvis Presley is "dreamy." Elizabeth also has a part-time job babysitting an adorable little grade 2 girl named Suzie, and Suzie's not-so-adorable grade 6 brother, David. Elizabeth's job is to walk Suzie and David home after school and then stay at their house with them until their mother gets home from work. David resents Elizabeth because he thinks he is too old for a babysitter, and he goes out of his way to make life miserable for her.

On this particular evening, however, Elizabeth has more than a badly behaved boy to contend with. It is on this October night that Hurricane Hazel roars down on Toronto, bringing torrential rains that cause extensive flooding. David and Suzie's house is on Raymore Drive, a street that will be practically wiped out by the floodwaters.

David and Suzie's parents are unable to reach the house, which means the children's safety on this most deadly of nights is Elizabeth's responsibility. She finds herself increasingly isolated. They are surrounded by rising water. The electricity goes out. The phone goes dead. Still, Elizabeth is sure they will be safe as long as they remain in the house.

But are Elizabeth and the children really as "safe as houses"? Before this terrifying night is over, Elizabeth and David will have to learn to communicate and cooperate if they are to save their own lives and Suzie's. Their survival in the midst of one of Canada's worst disasters will depend upon their resourcefulness, maturity and courage.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Eric Walters published his first novel, Stand Your Ground, in 1993, and has since become one of Canada's best known and most prolific writers of literature for children and young adults. He has had 39 novels published, including Safe as Houses. Eric's books are available in places as far away as Australia and New Zealand, and have been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese. Eric's novels have won more than 30 awards; among them the Red Maple, Blue Heron, Snow Willow, tiny Torgi and Ruth Schwartz awards. Eric has also received awards from the Canadian Library Association and UNESCO. He is the only writer who has won the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Award three times. A long-time teacher, Eric still interacts with children and teenagers, doing presentations that blend storytelling, drama and audience participation. In his research for Safe as Houses, Eric interviewed people who had survived the great storm, and incorporated some of their actual experiences into the story.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

"Vintage Walters...the adventure just doesn''t stop." -Canlitforkids.com

"A suspense-filled story of how three resourceful children trapped alone in a house manage to survive the terrible night." -Winnipeg Free Press


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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