A thrilling, inspiring tale of bravery and family.

THUNDER

AN ELEPHANT'S JOURNEY

A young elephant must reconnect with his herd and face his fears in this middle-grade novel.

Thunder, an African pygmy elephant, lives with his mother and the rest of his tribe in Africa. Every day, the tribe wanders through the savannah looking for food while Thunder and his friends play. The young elephant is particularly close to his mother, who teaches him all he needs to know, including how to communicate and act within the herd and how to protect himself from dangers that surround him—especially the “Uprights,” which is what elephants call humans. He leads a happy life until a poacher named Drago decides that he wants the elephants—and the rest of their animal friends—for himself. Drago captures some of them, but when his vehicle crashes, Thunder and a parrot named Penelope escape. The terrified Thunder misses his loved ones, but Soma, a tough-as-nails rhino, offers to help, and they all set off on a quest to find Thunder’s herd. Of course, it’s not easy, as weather and other wild beasts make the journey difficult; also, Drago is still set on capturing as many beasts as possible. Will Thunder make it back to his mother, or will Drago destroy his herd before he can find it? Shein and Reker (The Forgotten Ornament, 2012, etc.) paint quite a harrowing picture at times; Thunder’s quest is a stressful one, and some children may feel overwhelmed if they read it all in one sitting. That being said, the whole book is a lesson in perseverance and determination, which readers of all ages could stand to learn. The prose is thick with lovely descriptions of Thunder’s home and the various places he visits, and his fears will be relatable to the younger set. The story is also a great introduction to the concept of preserving the planet and its species. In a wonderful touch, an appendix gives contact information for a variety of organizations that are trying to stop the practice of poaching and protect the environment. Hopefully, this work will inspire young and old readers alike to do their parts to help save the beautiful creatures of Africa.

A thrilling, inspiring tale of bravery and family.

Pub Date: March 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62989-563-5

Page Count: 222

Publisher: World Castle Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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