For readers who want to meander.

READ REVIEW

THE RISE OF WINTER

From the Terra Protectorum series , Vol. 1

This first in a fantasy trilogy features a young girl and a band of animals questing to save the world from itself.

Readers meet Winter, who is in grade nine, surrounded by schoolyard bullies at the novel’s opening, but she is whisked to a world of talking animals within a few chapters. As the newly named leader of the Guardians, which protect the planet and its life force, Winter hones magical skills with guidance from Vulpeera the fox, Pteron the bat, and others. Threats to the Guardianship mount, and common fantasy elements pile up. Winter’s deceased biological parents, her role as a chosen child with magical blood, and a journey to a powerful mountain feel familiar. Meanwhile, themes of grief and climate change add social complexity—though they are woven in with little subtlety, a problem that’s exacerbated as the novel loses control of its pacing. As Winter and her animal comrades race against time, Winter must face painful revelations about her family members while becoming a leader. Chapters end on action to pull readers along. The names of animal characters and magical powers are so numerous that readers may lose track, but Latin buffs might love it. Winter presents white; Vulpeera references two mothers (of different species), and human character Alectus uses a prosthetic foot. Madia and Peirce contribute occasional grayscale spot illustrations.

For readers who want to meander. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77168-158-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Bold deeds, betrayals, and buffoonery kick off this series with gusto.

THE WILD ONES

From the Wild Ones series , Vol. 1

Treacherous urban pets try to renege on an ancient deal with the wild residents of a city alleyway, and a young raccoon finds himself caught in the middle in this all-animal dramedy.

His parents done in by a pack of hired bloodhounds, Kit flees his beloved woodlands for squalid Ankle Snap Alley, a wretched hive of scum and villainy, where he immediately falls afoul of a pair of raccoon hustlers and the feared Rabid Rascals gang. Worse yet, he is also targeted by miniature greyhound Titus, leader of the Flealess (or house pets), and vicious cat Sixclaw. They think he carries a possible clue to the whereabouts of the missing Bone of Contention that accords the alley’s formerly feral residents a right to settle there. Fortunately, Kit not only falls in with Eeni, a savvy rat who vows friendship “from howl to snap” (i.e., birth to, well…), but finds other allies too while proving himself no slouch when it comes to quick thinking and courage in the clutch. Despite metal traps springing and some spilled blood, the tale features but one onstage death; London further lightens the load with references to such appetizing alley cuisine as Daily Trash Casserole plus a diverse supporting cast highlighted by evangelical church mice and a retired fighting cock–turned-hairdresser.

Bold deeds, betrayals, and buffoonery kick off this series with gusto. (Animal fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17099-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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A must-have book for libraries, schools, and churches.

QUEERFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE

A GUIDE FOR LGBTQ+ CHRISTIAN TEENS

A must-read guide for all queer and questioning Christians (and their allies, too)!

Queer youth still face a multitude of challenges while growing up, and these have the potential to be amplified by religious beliefs. Addressing that issue head-on, this guide for Christians seeks to provide counsel, understanding, and gentle guidance across a series of 40-plus chapters that address everything from coming out in a variety of contexts, positive ways to deal with haters, and helping start the conversation about gender-neutral bathrooms at school, to living authentically. The book acknowledges that the advice is sometimes vague, but that’s because the spectrum of queer life is so broad. In this regard, the book excels by speaking to a range of genders and sexual identities; asexuals, nonbinary people, bisexuals, pansexuals, etc., are all addressed with respect and will find useful tips for navigating their early years. The book works better for hunt-and-peck readers as opposed to those reading from cover to cover because some of the information is repetitious, but that repetition may be necessary to counterbalance years of incorrect, inaccurate, or purposely hateful misinformation. The contributors to this fabulous read include mental health experts and religious leaders. Text boxes, pie charts, graphs, and grayscale illustrations support and enhance the main narrative.

A must-have book for libraries, schools, and churches. (note on language, glossary, additional resources, sources) (Self-help. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Budding biologists who have taken first steps with the likes of Marianne Bertes’ Going Home: The Mysteries of Animal...

MIGRATION NATION

ANIMALS ON THE GO FROM COAST TO COAST

O’Sullivan invites readers to join North American animals who regularly take to the “Herptile Highway,” the “Polar Bear Parkway,” “Bison Boulevard,” or “Salmon Street.”

Whether driven by seasonal changes in food sources, the “need to breed,” or, like monarch butterflies, more mysterious urges, some animals travel hundreds or even thousands of miles over cyclical routes. The author highlights a dozen creatures and mentions others. She marvels at the seemingly miraculous navigation skills of salmon and gray whales and sounds ominous notes about rapidly declining populations of monarchs and polar bears; she describes efforts to create safer crossings over paved roads for migratory snakes and amphibians (“herptiles”) in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest and migration corridors through fenced-in land for pronghorn antelopes in Wyoming and elsewhere. Along with maps and photos aplenty, she tucks in kid-friendly factual snippets about each creature, as well as specific locations where each can be observed on its habitual round. Though many of the photographs go uncaptioned and so add little beyond eye candy, this broad and breezy overview will stimulate young animal lovers’ “need to read” about one of the natural world’s behavioral wonders.

Budding biologists who have taken first steps with the likes of Marianne Bertes’ Going Home: The Mysteries of Animal Migration, illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio (2010), will find themselves drawn further down that road. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62354-050-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Imagine Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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