How to Avoid Extinction
September 27, 2016
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.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
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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