Thursday, October 3, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

Never Say Die by Will Hobbs, 212 pages.
The remote Firth River has always been home to Nick Thrasher.  At fifteen years of age, he knows the land well and is already an experienced Inuit hunter. When the caribou he has just caught is suddenly snatched by a huge, monstrous beast, Nick knows in a glance that the strange creature – half grizzly, half polar bear (soon to be known as the “grolar bear”) - is more dangerous than any other Arctic animal. He knows that he’s lucky to have escaped with his life.
Soon after the incident, Nick is invited on a rafting trip down the Firth River by his older half-brother, Ryan.  Now an international wildlife photographer, Ryan’s assignment is to photograph the migrating caribou herds in the Firth River watershed and discover the effects of climate change on these animals and others in this part of the Arctic.
Their trip of discovery soon becomes a trip of survival as the raft capsizes and they become submerged in the frigid water under a ceiling of ice.  Both escape, but narrowly.  Lacking provisions and warm clothing, they are left only with the clothes on their backs and a knife as protection against unpredictable weather, storms, wolves, grizzlies and the terrifying grolar bear that is now stalking them.
The non-stop action in this well-written adventure/survival story will keep readers turning the pages. The effects of climate change on the Arctic and on the Inuit culture are very much a part of the story, in a non-preachy way.  Readers can find a number of other adventures by Will Hobbs in the Stratford Public Library, such as Take Me to the River and Go Big or Go Home.

** Recommended for ages 9 to 12 years.

Menace from the Deep by Michael Spradlin, 225 pages.
Michael Spradlin’s newest book features another species of otherworldly creature – this time, a terrifying, genetically-altered breed of alligator living deep in the almost-impenetrable Florida Everglades forest.
Twelve-year-old Emmet Doyle accompanies his father, a noted scientist, who has been summoned to Florida to investigate a mysterious corpse discovered in Everglades National Park.  The dead creature bears many resemblances to an alligator, but it’s much, much bigger and has been engineered in various ways to become a “super predator”.
Very soon, it becomes apparent that there are more of the monsters still living in the park and that they will attack humans without provocation. Who has created the predators, and why?
Non-stop danger and adventure ensue as Emmet, his new-found friend Calvin and Dr. Doyle race to find the answers to their questions before someone is killed by the creatures in this fast-paced story, the first in a new series, Killer Species.  
Kids who enjoy adventure and science will very likely devour this book.

** Recommended for ages 9 to 12 years.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on October 3, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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