Review Detail

Kids Fiction 89
Environmental Mystery
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Madi and her friends Aaron and Jack live in Willow Grove, a small town where they are able to go out on the local lake in a boat, and drive the ATV in the woods between each others' houses. When they find two adult beavers dead near the lake, the are very concerned that there might be babies left in the lodge. Madi manages to swim under the water and retrieve two young beavers, whom she names Phrag and Cooler. Since her grandmother, who passed away a few years previously, was an "animal whisperer" and wildlife rehabilitator, Madi knows how to take care of wild animals, but she also knows it can be dangerous and challenging. Her parents, who are very busy with work, have told her absolutely no more wild animals to foster, so Madi and her friends ensconce the kits in their clubhouse, secure in the belief that her older sister Marley won't come in, since it smells like "a barn inside a boys' locker room next to a monkey factory"! Madi is set to go to a lecture by famous primatologist Jane Goodall, and she knows that if her parents find out, she won't get to go. She doesn't feel that there are any other places that can take care of the beavers, and she fears for their safety because of the deaths of the beavers, which she thinks is tied to dams messing up drainage culverts around the town. Aaron and Jack are a little more forthcoming with questions, all but accusing some townspeople they meet during their investigations. Not only are the children worried about the beavers, but the little devils are kind of cute. Less than cute is their instinct to smear their food and mud on the walls of the clubhouse as if it were a dam! Madi and her sister have an agreement-- Marley won't say anything about the animals if Madi won't say anything about Marley having her high school friends over for parties. Eventually, Madi is sure to be found out, but will she be able to figure out the mystery, as well as what to do with Phrag, Cooler, and another small beaver, Xena?
Good Points
There were lots and lots of good details about taking care of young beavers, but it is also clear that this is not something that should be tried at home! Madi very carefully takes her own notes, and follows those left by her grandmother, and does her best to take good care of the animals. It is very clever how she teaches them to build in certain places, thus helping the town's problem. Her parents are both well and concerned about their daughters, but busy enough that they don't pay a lot of attention, which is a brilliant way to structure a middle grade novel. Madi misses her grandmother, but is channeling her grief in constructive ways. Johnson always writes a good story, and this is a great SUMMER addition to her works.

It's good to see environmental topics being addressed in middle grade books, since there is a growing concern about all manner of related topics. Hiaassen's Hoot (2002) seems to have started the trend, and Hurwitz's Hello from Renn Lake, Rosenberg's One Small Hop, and Sorosiak's Leonard: My Life as a Cat are some of the newest additions to the list of books with great STEM and environmental connections.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Bluebird
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 1946, Eva leaves behind the rubble of Berlin for...
Merci Suárez Can't Dance
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventh grade is going to be a real trial...
When You Know What I Know
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse sensitively...
Between Perfect and Real
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding...
The Cost of Knowing
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End...
Gold Spun
 
4.8
 
0.0 (0)
If Nor can't spin gold, she can always spin...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic...
Small Favors
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Ellerie Downing is waiting for something to happen. Life...
If You Go Down to the Woods Today (Brown Bear Wood)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Journey through a magical woodland, with poems to read and...
Bunny Will Not Jump!: Ready-to-Read Level 1
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the endless imagination of Jason Tharp comes a hilarious...
Milo's Christmas Parade
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A new picture book from Jennie Palmer starring Milo, a...
Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Slow down to watch 50 nature stories that command calm...
Once Upon A Pizza: Eight Crazy Ways Pizza Wasn't Really Invented, And One It Might Have Been
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everyone loves pizza, but how was it invented? ...
A Kid's Guide to Fandom: Exploring Fan-Fic, Cosplay, Gaming, Podcasting, and More in the Geek World!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Help young fans get in touch with their inner geeks...
Awaken    Book 1 The A'vean Chronicles
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
SOME PEOPLE AREN'T DESTINED TO BE ORDINARY. With a...
Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Underdogs, unite! Celebrated nonfiction author Melissa Stewart offers young readers...

Latest Member Reviews

Mine
 
4.0
"Lily isn’t thrilled about her family’s move from Colorado to Florida. In Colorado, she had her drama club and her..."
Spectacle
 
3.7
"WHAT I LOVED: Nathalie Baudin is an extraordinary girl even before she discovers her psychometric abilities. She’s just sixteen,..."
The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)
 
5.0
"What I Loved: THE HAWTHORNE LEGACY, a sequel to THE INHERITANCE GAMES, is a book full of intrigue and mystery..."
The Secret Starling
 
3.5
"Clara Starling is used to the drudgery of life with her uncle in his huge mansion. It’s all routine, cold..."
The Stitchers
 
4.0
"Quinn’s neighborhood is mostly normal, until you look at Goodie Lane. The residents of Goodie Lane have lived there for..."
Batman: Overdrive
 
4.0
"Batman Overdrive by Shea Fontana is a re-imagining of Batman’s origins. A young, pre-Batman Bruce Wayne is at the beginning..."
Curse of the Specter Queen
 
3.7
"CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN was an intriguing YA historical fiction with code-breaking, good friends, and imminent danger. Sam works..."
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel
 
4.0
"Mars Patel idolizes Oliver Pruitt, a powerful tech giant who also runs Pruitt Prep. Mars and his friends Toothpick, JP,..."
The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious, #4)
 
5.0
"THE BOX IN THE WOODS is a fantastic continuation of Stevie's story with a whole new cold case to solve...."
Bear Bottom (Fun Jungle #7)
 
5.0
"Teddy and his family, along with Summer and her family, head off to Yellowstone Park. J.J.McCracken is interested in buying..."
Weird Kid
 
5.0
"Jake Wind is finding middle school a challenge: his dad is a proctologist who can't stop making butt jokes, and..."
Golden Gate (City Spies #2)
 
5.0
"After a mission aboard a ship that ends with Sydney blowing things up and Brooklyn saving the daughters of a..."
The Stitchers
 
5.0
"Quinn Parker lives on Goodie Lane in a small Connecticut town with her mother and her older, arthritic dog,..."
The Secret Starling
 
4.0
"It's 1974, and Clara is being raised in a decrepit, remote country mansion by a stern and uncaring uncle because..."
Curse of the Specter Queen
 
4.7
"Curse of the Specter Queen by Jenny Elder Moke is Indiana Jones meets The Mummy (1999) and encompasses everything I..."
Shark Summer
 
4.0
"In this graphic novel, we meet Gayle, who has moved to Martha's Vineyard from Boston so that her mother can..."
Duckscares: The Nightmare Formula
 
5.0
"I don’t know who enjoyed this book more: my son or me! The Nightmare Formula by Tommy Greenwald is the..."
City Spies (City Spies #1)
 
5.0
"Sara is a hacker who managed to break into the foster care computer system to report her troublesome foster parents;..."
Rescue at Lake Wild
 
5.0
"Madi and her friends Aaron and Jack live in Willow Grove, a small town where they are able to go..."
Jackaby
 
4.7
"This book was a pleasant surprise. Jackaby by William Ritter is the first in the series by the same name...."