The earth is old and we are not, and that is all you must remember . . .
Eleven-year-old Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as “screechers.” The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature.
Lately, though, nature has seemed angry indeed. Perchance has been cursed with fires and mudslides, droughts and fevers, and even the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny animals have overwintered in shimmering bubble nests perched atop blue willow trees, drawing tourists from far and wide. This year, however, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why.
When a handmade birthday gift brings unexpected magic to Willodeen and her new friend, Connor, she’s determined to speak up for the animals she loves, and perhaps even uncover the answer to the mystery of the missing hummingbears.
A timely and timeless tale about our fragile earth, and one girl’s fierce determination to make a difference.
I adore Willodeen. She is a traumatized young girl, losing her entire family in a fire a few years prior. Now she lives with the two elderly ladies in town who grant her the freedom to do as she wishes. Willodeen doesn’t enjoy crowds so she avoids them, staying out of school and learning through observation. She loves studying the wildlife around the village: screechers, hummingbears, the blue willow trees, etc. She even has a hummingbear she rescued who survived the same fire she did.
But like the screechers, the hummingbears are disappearing. This is a puzzle that plagues not only Willodeen but her village as well. Her village depends on the hummingbears to bring in tourists for the annual fall faire. Without them, many of the villagers will go broke. Through her tears, Willodeen finds a baby screecher or maybe turns one of her friend’s “puzzlers” into it. She really isn’t sure. But in studying her baby screecher, she may find the hope her village needs.
The story told through Willodeen in this book is so important. Like all of Applegate’s books, there are hidden lessons. Here the reader learns through Willodeen the importance of protecting the wildlife and habitat around them. She learns how nature is interconnected and how one missing piece affects the whole puzzle. I appreciated what the author conveyed here. I also loved the creatures that are purely fiction and add a bit of whimsy and magic to the otherwise heavy tale.
Final Thoughts: Through beautiful imagery and magical creatures, Katherine Applegate weaves a cautionary tale about the importance of protecting nature and its inhabitants in her newest release Willodeen.