Extremely well-meaning but not quite as well-done.

READ REVIEW

WILD AT HEART

MUSTANGS AND THE YOUNG PEOPLE FIGHTING TO SAVE THEM

A sweeping introduction to the wild horses of the American West, their past, present, and possible future.

Farley, well-known for her wildly popular middle-grade series Phantom Stallion, divides her subject into several parts, opening with the heartfelt story of Wild Horse Annie, one of the first activists determined to save wild horses from abuse and slaughter, and ending with the equally warm stories of several teens working for the same cause. In the middle, she covers the history of wild horses in North America, the instincts that govern horses in the wild, and why and how the horses are disappearing from the wild. While the book is nonfiction, Farley often assumes a horse's or person's fictional point of view to bring an expository section to life. Harder to follow are some of her middle chapters about conflicts between the horses and the Bureau of Land Management. Readers will struggle to make sense of the reason for the inclusion of other details, such as when a contractor legally capturing wild horses finds a small band that has been shot dead. Less emotion and more logic would have created a more compelling argument. Farley includes an author's note, glossary, chapter notes, a bibliography, and an index, but not the one thing young readers would want most: advice on how they too can help the cause of the wild horses.

Extremely well-meaning but not quite as well-done. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-39294-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more