Practical, topical science in the field for middle-grade and middle school readers.

BIRDS VS. BLADES?

OFFSHORE WIND POWER AND THE RACE TO PROTECT SEABIRDS

Scientists study seabirds to see how they might be affected by wind farms and to suggest appropriate placement for turbines to generate that nonpolluting, renewable energy.

Up and down the mid-Atlantic coast from Rhode Island to Virginia, politicians and engineers are looking for places to construct offshore wind farms, similar to those already providing clean energy around the country. Hirsch’s timely text explains this energy source, touches on why we need wind farms and how they work, and describes a four-year scientific study of gannets, scoters, and red-throated loons. She focuses particularly on the gannets, graceful ocean divers whose movements were previously a mystery. In successive chapters, she introduces the problem, then describes two nighttime boat trips to capture, band, and fit some birds with transmitters, which will reveal their whereabouts for a year. She reports on the travels of one tagged male and on life in the gannet breeding colonies off the east coast of Canada. She concludes with a more nuanced explanation of the hazards facing gannets and other seabirds. Laced with well-captioned photographs, maps, and blocks of sidebar text, the pages are attractively designed. There’s lots of information here, but there’s also lively action, a sense of immediacy, and a recognition that there are still far more questions than answers.

Practical, topical science in the field for middle-grade and middle school readers. (author’s note, source notes, glossary, selected bibliography, further information, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-9520-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves.

SCAREDY CAT

Two shelter cats take on a mysterious puss with weird powers who is terrorizing the feline community.

Hardly have timorous (and aptly named) Poop and her sophisticated buddy, Pasha, been brought home by their new “human beans” for a two-week trial than they are accosted by fiery-eyed Scaredy Cat, utterly trashing the kitchen with a click of his claws and, hissing that he’s in charge of the neighborhood, threatening that if they don’t act like proper cats—disdaining ordinary cat food and any summons (they are not dogs, after all), clawing the furniture instead of the scratching post, and showing like “cattitude”—it’ll be back to the shelter for them. Will Poop and Pasha prove to be fraidycats or flee to the cowed clowder of homeless cats hiding from the bully in the nearby woods? Nope, they are made of sterner stuff and resolutely set out to enlist feline allies in a “quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of purrs!” Cast into a gazillion very short chapters related by furry narrators Poop and Pasha, who are helpfully depicted in portrait vignettes by Herzog at each chapter’s head, the ensuing adventures test the defiant kitties’ courage (and, in some cases, attention spans) on the way to a spooky but poignant climax set, appropriately enough as it happens, in a pet graveyard.

A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves. (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49443-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Moving and poetic.

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PAX

A motherless boy is forced to abandon his domesticated fox when his father decides to join soldiers in an approaching war.

Twelve-year-old Peter found his loyal companion, Pax, as an orphaned kit while still grieving his own mother’s death. Peter’s difficult and often harsh father said he could keep the fox “for now” but five years later insists the boy leave Pax by the road when he takes Peter to his grandfather’s house, hundreds of miles away. Peter’s journey back to Pax and Pax’s steadfastness in waiting for Peter’s return result in a tale of survival, intrinsic connection, and redemption. The battles between warring humans in the unnamed conflict remain remote, but the oncoming wave of deaths is seen through Pax’s eyes as woodland creatures are blown up by mines. While Pax learns to negotiate the complications of surviving in the wild and relating to other foxes, Peter breaks his foot and must learn to trust a seemingly eccentric woman named Vola who battles her own ghosts of war. Alternating chapters from the perspectives of boy and fox are perfectly paced and complementary. Only Peter, Pax, Vola, and three of Pax’s fox companions are named, conferring a spare, fablelike quality. Every moment in the graceful, fluid narrative is believable. Klassen’s cover art has a sense of contained, powerful stillness. (Interior illustrations not seen.)

Moving and poetic. (Animal fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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