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The Dreaded Cliff
The Dreaded Cliff

The Dreaded Cliff

By Terry Nichols, Illustrated by Odessa Sawyer



260 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB

Trade Paper, $12.95 (CA $16.95) (US $12.95)

Publication Date: March 2021

ISBN 9781951122126

Rights: WOR

Artemesia Publishing, LLC (Mar 2021)
Kinkajou Press


eBook Editions Available

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Price: $12.95


Life turns unpredictable as Flora meets quirky critters, strange adventures, and deep mysteries as she discovers what’s truly important in her life, and finds she’s not such an ordinary packrat after all

Flora and her packrat life are perfectly ordinary, perfectly predictable. She avoids strangers, especially opera-singing porcupines and rabbits that make prickly pear cactus pads talk. She’s never flown through the air, nor drooped herself before a kangaroo rat king. And she would never talk with a blood-thirsty owl, because everyone knows owls can’t talk. Besides, they eat packrats. Flora’s perfect life is all about snuggling in her treasure-packed nest and ‘snibbling’ snacks with her packrat pal. There’s only one thing—looming nearby is the dreaded cliff. Ever since she was a wee pup, other packrats have warned “beware!” and Flora’s stomach twists into knots. All this is about to change when old Grandma Mimi tells Flora about their ancestral home, stuffed in a dark crack in the cliff. Countless packrats have raised their young and left their marks and memories there. They stay away now, ever since a killer wiped out a litter of pups and took over. Flora tucks the story of the home deep in her heart...then tumbles into a faraway canyon. Can she survive dangers that seem to lurk around every tree stump? And how will she ever get home?


"Take a goddess of a packrat. Put her in a community of desert dwellers with hearts that range from faint to stout. Stir in a setting of high cliffs and desert sky, prickly pear and juniper, collective memory, and lashings of delicious danger. Terry Nichols raises big questions in a story that stirs, enchants, and amuses—sometimes all at once." —Uma Krishnaswami, Author of Book Uncle and Me, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

"An entertaining animal adventure." —Kirkus Review

Author Biography

Terry Nichols served thirty years as a National Park Service ranger, protecting and interpreting parks located primarily in the southwestern United States. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, her ranger career sent her to this high desert and canyon country, where she grew to love the broad landscapes, plants, and creatures. She has camped and explored across the region in a ’79 pop-up Volkswagen van with her two sons, now grown, and once carried along a stowaway packrat. Now living in a strawbale house she designed and built in Aztec, New Mexico, she talks to packrats and plants and bugs and the moon every chance she gets. She’s also a world traveler, has a special fondness for visiting India, and enjoys blogging about her travels. Odessa Sawyer is an artist and illustrator living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.