A child whose parents own and run an adoption center for unwanted animals has a hard time letting go.
Nolan plaits together three disparate plot strands in this chapter-book series entry. One is the story of Copper, the injured baby fox Ella rescues one night. Another is that of Gordon, a billy goat given up by his previous owners and now in need of a new home. And the third is that of the Animal Magic Rescue Center’s ongoing friction with neighbor Mrs. Brooks, whose petition to shut the facility down is before the town council and whose daughter, Annie, is Ella’s friend. That’s a lot for a slim book, but Nolan pulls it off, offering just enough characterization and background detail to fill out the plot points in a natural and convincing way. Ella’s determination to overlook Gordon’s challenges as an adoptable pet will ring true to readers, as will her desire to hold and cuddle Copper despite her mother’s admonitions that he needs to return to the wild when he’s healed. The difficulties with the neighbor clearly predate the beginning of this book, but enough back story is provided to carry readers new to the series along easily. Black-and-white interior illustrations occur every few pages, depicting an all-white semirural setting. Series companion The Homeless Foal publishes simultaneously.
An agreeable outing for animal-loving chapter-book readers. (Fiction. 7-10)