A bit narrow, but worth the read if the topic appeals.

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THE RESCUE OF BELLE AND SUNDANCE

ONE TOWN'S INCREDIBLE RACE TO SAVE TWO ABANDONED HORSES

The story of a town in northeast British Columbia that came together to rescue two horses trapped on a mountain’s snowy summit.

With co-author Scanlan (The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World's Greatest Racehorse, 2007), horse trainer and riding instructor Stutz opens with a kind of fairy-tale tone that hints at sublime imagery, suspense and creatively drawn characters. Despite sincere, balanced efforts by the author, the story—while impressive and inspiring—ultimately fails to deliver on these literary counts. Still, there is certainly something here for animal lovers and those for whom life in the Canadian Rockies is either familiar or of interest. In September 2008, a lawyer from Edmonton took his two pack horses, Belle and Sundance, up Mt. Renshaw to deliver supplies to a friend hiking there. When the weather turned foul, he made a wrong turn and led the horses through two treacherous bogs, after which they refused to follow him. Figuring the horses would come down the mountain when they were ready, he abandoned them and headed for the valley, not to find them again for 12 weeks. By mid-December, “the verdant mountain meadows…gradually transformed into…a cold, white prison” for Belle and Sundance. The owner determined them too weak to make it through the deep snow, and decided to “let nature take its course,” a decision for which he would later be charged with animal cruelty. Meanwhile, snowmobilers had spread the word around a nearby town that two emaciated horses were trapped at Renshaw summit. After ruling out euthanasia due to the glimmers in Belle and Sundance’s eyes, the locals mobilized in a collective act of community spirit to orchestrate a rescue attempt. Over seven days, they dug a “tunnel to freedom” to lead the horses down the mountain to the logging road nearly 20 miles away, and eventually to health on separate ranches in the region. Stutz emerged as the lead horse handler and spokesperson for the effort.

A bit narrow, but worth the read if the topic appeals.

Pub Date: March 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-306-82097-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Merloyd Lawrence/Da Capo

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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Jahren transcends both memoir and science writing in this literary fusion of both genres.

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LAB GIRL

Award-winning scientist Jahren (Geology and Geophysics/Univ. of Hawaii) delivers a personal memoir and a paean to the natural world.

The author’s father was a physics and earth science teacher who encouraged her play in the laboratory, and her mother was a student of English literature who nurtured her love of reading. Both of these early influences engrossingly combine in this adroit story of a dedication to science. Jahren’s journey from struggling student to struggling scientist has the narrative tension of a novel and characters she imbues with real depth. The heroes in this tale are the plants that the author studies, and throughout, she employs her facility with words to engage her readers. We learn much along the way—e.g., how the willow tree clones itself, the courage of a seed’s first root, the symbiotic relationship between trees and fungi, and the airborne signals used by trees in their ongoing war against insects. Trees are of key interest to Jahren, and at times she waxes poetic: “Each beginning is the end of a waiting. We are each given exactly one chance to be. Each of us is both impossible and inevitable. Every replete tree was first a seed that waited.” The author draws many parallels between her subjects and herself. This is her story, after all, and we are engaged beyond expectation as she relates her struggle in building and running laboratory after laboratory at the universities that have employed her. Present throughout is her lab partner, a disaffected genius named Bill, whom she recruited when she was a graduate student at Berkeley and with whom she’s worked ever since. The author’s tenacity, hope, and gratitude are all evident as she and Bill chase the sweetness of discovery in the face of the harsh economic realities of the research scientist.

Jahren transcends both memoir and science writing in this literary fusion of both genres.

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-87493-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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