A sensitive, passionate story told from an intriguing point of view.

READ REVIEW

I AM COYOTE

An imaginative re-creation of the life of one of the first coyotes to inhabit Maine.

In the late 1960s, coyotes from Canada began to migrate eastward, expanding their range. Vistein, a carnivore biologist, tells the story of one of these early migrants from the coyote’s point of view and asks readers to consider coyotes as “intelligent, sentient beings” able to experience “fear, joy, affection, loss, grief, puzzlement, and acceptance but never anger.” Vistein’s writing is impassioned and poetic as she tells of the female Coyote who travels east—facing danger from traps, traffic, guns, and dogs—to finally find a refuge in Baxter State Park. At times Vistein’s prose hits the purple end of the spectrum, and her words occasionally repeat themselves, but her sincerity in relating the beauty and cyclic nature of the natural world, and the vibrancy of those who inhabit it, is convincing. When Coyote finds a trapped coyote, she helps him to free himself (he chews off his paw). They become mates and, as seasons and years pass, raise four litters of pups. Readers learn about the complex social structure of coyotes (previous years’ siblings help out) and that life as a wild creature is often tragic—though Vistein balances the harshness of death with a wider, natural-order-of-things perspective.

A sensitive, passionate story told from an intriguing point of view. (author's note, further reading) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-88448-466-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike.

ULTIMATE OCEANPEDIA

THE MOST COMPLETE OCEAN REFERENCE EVER

A compendium of all things oceanic, from surface to depths, covering biology, geology, coasts, climatic phenomena, and human use and abuse.

Considering the size of the general topic, the coverage isn’t as shallow as it might be. Hundreds of crisply professional nature photos and big, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams anchor waves of densely packed but often breezy commentary (“Many parrotfish species also make their own sleeping bags at night—out of mucus!”) that Wilsdon pours in beneath such headers as “It’s a Shore Thing” and “Belize It or Not!” Overviews of each ocean, of plate tectonics, the action and effects of ocean currents, worldwide climate change, and physical features from islands to abyssal plains sail by in succession, but marine biology takes pride of place with page after page of photogenic sea life from tiny krill on up to whales and polar bears. The author profiles a marine ecologist and interviews an oceanographer to cap chapters on modern research, exploration, and industries, then closes with generous lists of sites to visit physically or virtually.

A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2550-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING RESCUE OF HORSES KIDNAPPED DURING WORLD WAR II

Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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