Rescue at Lake Wild

Rescue at Lake Wild
Age Range
Release Date
April 27, 2021
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In this funny and moving animals-in-peril adventure, a twelve-year-old girl and her two best friends determine to rescue two orphaned beaver kits—and soon find themselves trying to solve a local environmental crisis. Perfect for fans of Pax and A Boy Called Bat.

Everyone knows that twelve-year-old Madison “Madi” Lewis is not allowed to bring home any more animals. After she's saved hairless mice, two birds, a rabbit, and a stray tom cat that ended up destroying the front porch, Madi’s parents decide that if they find one more stray animal in the house, she won’t be allowed to meet Jane Goodall at an upcoming gala event.

But when Madi and her two best friends, Aaron and Jack, rescue beaver kits whose mother was killed, they find themselves at the center of a local conspiracy that’s putting the beavers and their habitats in danger. As Madi and her friends race to uncover the threat targeting the beavers, Madi must put her animal whisperer skills to the test in both raising the orphaned beaver kits and staying out of trouble long enough.

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1 review
Environmental Mystery
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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.
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