From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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A fascinating and comprehensive analysis of the tragic decline of giraffes and the heroic efforts to reverse this trend.



Giraffes have been known to humans for millennia, and this book introduces this beloved species and the threats it faces.

Ancient petroglyphs of giraffes exist in Namibia, and giraffes’ striking features have been familiar in illustrations from ancient times to the present day. The scientific community widely assumed that they were abundant. However, a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature alerted scientists to a 40% decline in the number of giraffes in the wild between 1985 and 2015. The author describes the study of giraffes, beginning with field studies by pioneering Canadian biologist Anne Innis Dagg in the 1950s, and the gradual growth in understanding of giraffe subspecies, characteristics, and behavior that led to the discovery of their “silent extinction” and the movement to conserve and protect the species. The author systematically analyzes the reasons behind their declining population, which include animal predators, poaching, habitat loss, war, climate change, and trophy hunting. The book is engagingly designed, with color photographs, informative sidebars, detailed features such as those about giraffe taxonomy and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, and information about conservation and rescue organizations.

A fascinating and comprehensive analysis of the tragic decline of giraffes and the heroic efforts to reverse this trend. (giraffe guide, glossary, source notes, selected bibliography, further information, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3238-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Helpful and inspirational.



Activist Kelaher rallies supporters for two crusades: rescuing farmed or lab animals and refusing to eat them or use their products.

The Aussie founder of NSW Hen Rescue dishes up a spicy mix of interviews and advocacy to promote the idea that switching to a vegan diet and vigorously opposing any sort of animal use go hand in hoof (paw, fin, claw). Her main ingredients are short Q&A exchanges with budding animal activists around the world but mostly in Australia and the U.S. They are all vegans and mostly teenagers—though some are far younger—who speak about both their favored methods of raising awareness and specific areas of concern, ranging from livestock abuse and slaughter to plastic pollutants, cruelty in the pet industry, wildlife rescue, and classroom dissections. One interesting section presents veganism through the lens of intersectionality. Along with breezy reassurances that any dish can be reinvented as vegan and introductions to some of her own feathered rescuees, Kelaher folds in checklists, a sample press release, and other useful tools. If some suggested activities skate legality’s ragged edge (slapping protest stickers on grocery store shelves or items), at least they’re nonviolent and generally feasible for younger audiences. The few photos that aren’t portraits of interviewees (who are mostly White, with some Asian and Black representation) or healthy-looking rescued chickens are at worst only mildly disturbing. The tone overall is friendly, chatty, and highly engaging.

Helpful and inspirational.   (online resources) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-61822-094-3

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Ashland Creek Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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