How to Avoid Extinction

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
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How to Avoid Extinction
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
September 27, 2016
ISBN
9780545899062
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Since the death of his grandfather, Leo's number one chore has been to chase after his grandmother who seems to wander away from home every few days. Now, Gram's decided to roam farther than ever. And despite his misgivings, Leo's going along for the ride. With his seventeen-year-old cousin, Abbey, and an old, gassy dog named Kermit, Leo joins Gram in a big, old Buick to leave their Pennsylvania home for a cross-country road trip filled with foldout maps, family secrets, new friends, and dinosaur bones.

How to Avoid Extinction is a middle-grade comedy about death and food and family and fossils. It's about running away from home and coming back again. For Leo, it's about asking hard questions and hopefully finding some sensible answers. As if good sense has anything to do with it. Against a backdrop of America's stunning size and beauty, it's also about growing up, getting old, dreaming about immortality, and figuring out all the things we can -- and can't -- leave behind.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Hijinks with a Buick Electra
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Since his grandfather passed away, Leo's job is to keep track of his grandmother. She's fiesty, loves doughnuts, and has decided that for the anniversary of her husband's death, she wants to visit a dinosaur site that they were going to travel to together. She knows enough that she shouldn't go alone, so inveigles not only Leo but his cousin Abbey into going with her, since "I'm old. I'm able, and I've got an extremely high credit limit." Soon, the group takes off, armed with doughnuts. The first stop is the Natural History Museum in Chicago, where they meet Honey Buenafe, a student who is heading home to Nebraska. They offer to drive her, since it's on their way and she can help them find the dinosaur site they need in Utah. Her dog, Kermit, comes along. When they get out to Nebraska, they are warmly welcomed by Honey's Filipino family, but Gram takes off on her own, somewhat in part because she wants to stop by Denver to get a tattoo. Leo and Abbey, provisioned with spicy octopus snacks by Mrs. Buenafe, take off after her, eventually calling Leo's mother to come and join their trip. Leo learns a lot about his father, whom he has never met, his mother and her past, and is able to keep his grandmother safe and also help her dreams come true.
Good Points
This is a fantastic mix of funny and serious. Leo is apprehensive about going, but loves his grandmother and wants her to be happy. Abbey is up for a road trip, especially since she would really like to be a paleontologist, and she's great about looking out for everyone. The Buick runs into understandable problems for its age. Honey and her family are so much fun, and a great lesson in how friends can be made under the most surprising circumstances. I also loved how grief was handled-- it's there, but we don't necessarily have to keep going over and over it. In fact, if there are some instances that we want to pretend never happened, that's okay, too. Loved that.

There is one major weakness.The dog is old. You have been warned.

Readers who are searching for funny books with a bit more depth to them will do well to pick this title up. Hand to readers of DuPrau's Car Trouble, Marshall's In The Footsteps of Crazy Horse, Paulsen's Road Trip series or Gebhart's There Will Be Bears/
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