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NURK by Ursula Vernon


The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew

by Ursula Vernon

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: June 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-15-206375-7
Publisher: Harcourt

A reclusive young shrew develops a taste for adventure in this short, witty debut. With the example of his long-absent grandmother Surka—“a fighter, a dishwasher, and a pirate queen”—before him, little Nurk stocks up an empty shell he calls the Snailboat and sets off downriver in response to a letter pleading for unspecified help. That plea comes, as it turns out, from Scatterwings, a thoroughly adolescent dragonfly princess whose royal brother Flicker has been captured by the Grizzlemole, a blind enchanter of mountainous size. The occasional fluidly drawn black-and-white scenes depict a particularly tiny and timorous-looking rodent, but Nurk shows heart aplenty in taking on a series of eldritch challenges—and he returns home afterward bolstered by a new self-assurance likely to spur him on in sequels to search for his lost grandparent. Nurk’s adventure, and the tone in which it’s related, will remind readers of Stuart Little’s quest. (Fantasy. 10-12)