An appealing and effective way to convey an important message.

HOW TO SAVE A SPECIES

Striking photographs and clear explanatory text introduce 15 highly endangered species and two brought back from the edge of extinction, examples of the “very wonderful, very rare” living things with which humans share our world.

Working from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List of Threatened Species,” the authors have selected a variety of animals, insects and plants from around the world to exemplify the issue. Four pages of introduction explain the problem and topics touched on in subsequent double-spread “chapters”: field research, numbers and threats, action plans and scientists involved. Appropriately for young readers, success stories come first: the humpback whale and New Zealand’s black robin. Subsequent spreads cover species from Przewalski’s horse on the Mongolian steppes to kestrels in Mauritius. Each creature gets a spread with a photograph, a few paragraphs of engaging, descriptive text, and sidebar notes: number, location, threats and what needs to be done. Many of these species have been captive-bred and released. Others will require community engagement and enforcement of existing protective laws. The design is attractive and the organization clear. A map serves as an index to species covered and also locates other creatures that make up the top 100 from the Zoological Society of London’s “Priceless or Worthless?” list.

An appealing and effective way to convey an important message. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77147-063-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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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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A densely plotted, fast-moving, thematically rich tale set at the intersection of ability and disability.

DOG DRIVEN

A teen enters a challenging, multiday dog sled race to raise awareness of the incurable disease that’s blinded her sister and now claims her own sight.

To retain her independence, McKenna, 14, has hidden her deteriorating vision from her family, dropped extracurricular activities, and withdrawn from friends. Only 8-year-old Emma knows that McKenna, too, inherited Stargardt disease, a juvenile form of macular degeneration. (Both retain some peripheral vision.) Observing how parental conflicts, exacerbated by their mother’s overprotectiveness, have undermined Emma’s progress toward self-reliance, McKenna’s avoided disclosing her disability. She’s certain the knowledge would devastate her parents, but hiding vision loss is a risky strategy—especially on demanding, unfamiliar terrain, the route Canadian couriers once used to deliver mail by dog sled. An experienced musher—her (presumed white) Michigan family raises and trains sled dogs—McKenna hopes her skills can compensate. As the weather deteriorates, sighted competitors (the daughter of a famous musher and the descendent of a dog sled courier) also make dangerous mistakes. McKenna’s dread of losing her autonomy while her teen peers move toward independent adulthood resonates. Giving and accepting help, she confronts her own beliefs and fears about disability. Johnson’s mushing expertise pays off in a suspenseful plot laden with convincing details. The lively, crowded, chaotic world of dogs and mushers is memorably complemented by the silent, icy wilderness they race through.

A densely plotted, fast-moving, thematically rich tale set at the intersection of ability and disability. (author’s note) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55159-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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