Marlis Day is a teacher who loves kids. She has published three mysteries for adults, but her love of reading children's stories and remembering her own childhood drove her to write her first book for middle-age kids. Thus the Sparky and Grey Bailey series was born. She is presently working on her next adventure featuring the Bailey cousins.
Bailey's Chase was named for Granny Bailey, an old woman with blue eyes which changed colors and hair that seemed to throw off sparks. Everyone loved Granny Bailey, whose wisdom could cure small ills; whose hospitality made everyone feel welcome at her door; and whose love of animals extended to her being able to communicate with them. Granny was beloved by all, and when she died her gifts didn't surface again until a tragedy brought her two great-great-great-granddaughters together:
"'Hi, I'm Sparky,' the girl said, holding out her hand and staring curiously at Grey's face.
'Do you know that your hair's on FIRE?' Grey asked while shaking hands.
Nobody else seemed to notice anything out of the ordinary. She thought she must be tired and seeing things. Hallucinating, that's what people called it. Grey had read about people hallucinating when they got tired, but she had never done it. She shook her head and blinked, making sure she was awake.
'My hair's not on fire,' the girl said with a giggle, running a hand through her hair just to prove it. Grey continued to stare, amazed at the sight. The girl suddenly leaned forward, stared directly into Grey's eyes, and said, 'Your eyes are funny though. They just changed colors!'"
With this premise, the stage is set for adventures that would make Nancy Drew jealous. The two cousins discover their gifts and how they relate to good and evil. Marlis Day creates a building block of character, action, and a wonderful plot to create an adventure the reader will never forget. Her skill is apparent throughout the book, as well as her love of children. Sparky and Grey are great role models for middle-school children, and Marlis Day's jewel of a book could be used in any classroom to entice young minds.