Author: Terry Lynn Johnson
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 27/21
Length: 208 pages
Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an eARC edition of this book.
Canadian author Terry Lynn Johnson has written a younger middle-grade novel appealing to readers curious about animal rescues. Madi wants to be like her recently deceased Nana and become a wildlife rehabilitator. Her parents, however, have told her point-blank – no more rescues. When Madi and her two best friends Aaron and Jack, discover two orphaned beaver kits, she knows they are their only chance for survival. Now they have to learn how to care for them without their parents finding out, and they need to figure out who is killing the beavers.
Canadian author Terry Lynn Johnson has written a plot-driven story interspersed with tidbits of humour and incidents that this age group will laugh about, get a bit grossed-out (think leeches and bloodsuckers) and gain a greater appreciation of beavers. When finished with the book, readers will have a deeper understanding of beavers, their engineering skills and how they can change habitats. That is not to say we do not get to know Madi, Aaron and Jack. The three are friends who look out for one another and yet bicker amongst themselves and demand time for their own passions that comes across naturally and not forced. Each character has a unique family situation that they are working through and is relevant to this intended audience.
In the Author’s Note, Ms. Johnson includes the stories of inspirations for the book, including sources she used to write, and readers should take the time to read this as it is both interesting and informative. Readers need to be critical thinkers and be aware of what is factual and what is not. The author’s note lets readers understand the author’s desire to have accurate and current information for their audience, and for this reviewer appreciated.
This novel would be suitable for a wide range of readers. It would make a captivating read-aloud for students as young as eight but can see students as old as eleven and twelve enjoying this book. The shorter length will be more enticing for many and may also act as a bridge for students wanting to get into a longer novel. I sincerely hope that we will see this as a series.
FIRST LINE: I hear it again.
RECOMMENDED: Gr. 2- 6