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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Documents a calendar year in the life of Critter Care—a wildlife rehabilitation center in southern British Columbia that specializes in mammals.

At first glance a journal-style overview and a tribute to founder Gail Martin, this work is in fact much more. Readers will get the expected tales both tragic and amusing, as dedicated workers—including international interns—do everything from hourly overnight nursing of infant moles to teaching otter pups how to swim to releasing charges back into the wild. All these stories—told with accessible language and wry humor—are interspersed with fascinating facts about the habits and behaviors of beavers, skunks, raccoons, and more. From the beginning, the text is also clear about the tension between Critter Care and the philosophy and practice of British Columbia’s Conservation Officer Service, which often resorts to shooting rather than relocating animals. The text emphasizes the ever increasing number of orphaned bear cubs, often caused by officers legally killing mother bears foraging in human settlements. Other serious issues woven into the text are euthanasia, habitat loss, unintentional killing of wildlife, and leghold traps. Nor does the text gloss over the fighting and death that are an inherent part of nature, including a note that rabbits are such popular prey they are sometimes called “nature’s granola.” Nevertheless, a tone of optimism prevails. Abundant, eye- and-heart-arresting color photographs and excellent layout complement the text’s call to action.

Inspiring. (index, sources, recommended reading) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77203-387-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Heritage House Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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Although fascinating, this lengthy effort seems nearly interchangeable with the adult version.



Military service dogs perform a variety of roles, but those trained to sniff out IEDs are the primary focus of this effort.

Like so many recent nonfiction works for young adults, this is a reworked version of a recent adult publication, also called War Dogs (2015). Frankel begins many chapters with brief, engaging narrative descriptions of war-dog missions or training episodes, then turns her attention to the details of the stories. Included are sad descriptions of missions that resulted in the deaths of dogs or handlers. One long section focuses on the extensive dog and handler training that goes on in a “K-9 village,” a realistic mock-up of an Iraqi town at the Yuma Proving Ground. There’s a proliferation of acronyms and initialisms, all included in a list in the extensive backmatter, and their use adds military flavor to the story that may appeal to some readers, but the sheer profusion of them can overwhelm. The volume is but lightly redacted (a reference to a dog as a “nasty little bitch” in the book for adults is prudishly absent here); the most striking difference involves the breaking up of the text into many more chapters than in the adult volume and integrating photographs into the narrative rather than isolating them in an insert. Sentence length and structure are not noticeably simplified for a young audience.

Although fascinating, this lengthy effort seems nearly interchangeable with the adult version. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-11228-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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