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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An almost-orphan and a rescue dog share lots of heart in a winsome coming-of-age story.

A HOME FOR GODDESSES AND DOGS

After her mother succumbs to heart disease, 13-year-old Lydia goes to live with her mother’s older sister, Aunt Brat, and her wife, Eileen, in their small Connecticut town.

Almost immediately the loving couple adopts a large rescue dog that becomes mostly Lydia’s responsibility. The unfortunate animal isn’t even housebroken, and Lydia’s most decidedly not a dog person, so caring for Guffer is challenging. So is trying to be cordial—but not too friendly—with her 12 eighth grade classmates. Previously home-schooled, Lydia’s not quite ready for the friend thing. Secrets, like who could have been responsible for maiming two baby goats or why Brat is secretly caring for them at a neighbor’s farm, complicate life. Background plotlines (an angry neighbor who hates Guffer, Lydia’s absent father, and the cause of Guffer’s anxieties) all gradually evolve. Similarly, Lydia slowly learns to cope with her grief, sometimes aided by spending time with “the goddesses”—artistic collages of strong women that she and her mother crafted. Gentle, fully fleshed characters (most seemingly white) are lovingly drawn in this long tale of healing, but the pacing is sometimes frustratingly slow. Although she’s clearly intelligent, Lydia’s first-person narrative often seems more like the voice of an adult than a young teen. In spite of these minor flaws, her poignant tale is engaging and uplifting.

An almost-orphan and a rescue dog share lots of heart in a winsome coming-of-age story. (Fiction.10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-279678-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Readers will need to strap on their helmets and prepare for a wild ride.

WILD RIVER

Disaster overtakes a group of sixth graders on a leadership-building white-water rafting trip.

Deep in the Montana wilderness, a dam breaks, and the resultant rush sweeps away both counselors, the rafts, and nearly all the supplies, leaving five disparate preteens stranded in the wilderness far from where they were expected to be. Narrator Daniel is a mild White kid who’s resourceful and good at keeping the peace but given to worrying over his mentally ill father. Deke, also White, is a determined bully, unwilling to work with and relentlessly taunting the others, especially Mia, a Latina, who is a natural leader with a plan. Tony, another White boy, is something of a friendly follower and, unfortunately, attaches himself to Deke while Imani, a reserved African American girl, initially keeps her distance. After the disaster, Deke steals the backpack with the remaining food and runs off with Tony, and the other three resolve to do whatever it takes to get it back, eventually having to confront the dangerous bully. The characters come from a variety of backgrounds but are fairly broadly drawn; still, their breathlessly perilous situation keeps the tale moving briskly forward, with one threatening situation after another believably confronting them. As he did with Wildfire (2019), Newbery Honoree Philbrick has crafted another action tale for young readers that’s impossible to put down.

Readers will need to strap on their helmets and prepare for a wild ride. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-64727-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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