Snowy fun and suspense Down East.


From the Cooper & Packrat series , Vol. 5

The sight of a lynx kitten wearing a collar in the wintry Maine woods catalyzes a host of increasingly dangerous escapades for Cooper, Packrat, and friends.

Fans of aspiring game warden Cooper Wilder and his friend Packrat—whose useful collection of miscellany resides in his jacket’s many pockets—will enjoy following the boys as their attention turns from setting up (with friends Roy and Summer) the premier winter festival at the Wilder family’s campground to learning about a probable fur poacher nearby. When dog-sledder Wynter and her mother show up, the friends are torn between welcoming Wynter and distrusting her mother’s questionable behavior. Warden Kate proves a reliable female role model as each short, accessible chapter skillfully weaves information—including descriptions of lynx habits and laws protecting them, the mechanics of ice-fishing, building a snow fort, the sport of skijoring (which involves being pulled by a dog while wearing cross-country skis), and the difference between legal trapping and illegal poaching—into a suspenseful tale. First-person narrator Cooper’s voice is believable as a young teen who is both daring and mostly responsible—and who is starting to feel a change in his feelings toward his friend Summer. Part of the fun for readers is trying to outguess Cooper’s changing assessments as the clues pile up. Stylized, grayscale spot art is appropriately lighthearted and reassuring. All characters follow a White default.

Snowy fun and suspense Down East. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-952143-36-6

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Islandport Press

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey.


Separated from his pack, Swift, a young wolf, embarks on a perilous search for a new home.

Swift’s mother impresses on him early that his “pack belongs to the mountains and the mountains belong to the pack.” His father teaches him to hunt elk, avoid skunks and porcupines, revere the life that gives them life, and “carry on” when their pack is devastated in an attack by enemy wolves. Alone and grieving, Swift reluctantly leaves his mountain home. Crossing into unfamiliar territory, he’s injured and nearly dies, but the need to run, hunt, and live drives him on. Following a routine of “walk-trot-eat-rest,” Swift traverses prairies, canyons, and deserts, encountering men with rifles, hunger, thirst, highways, wild horses, a cougar, and a forest fire. Never imagining the “world could be so big or that I could be so alone in it,” Swift renames himself Wander as he reaches new mountains and finds a new home. Rife with details of the myriad scents, sounds, tastes, touches, and sights in Swift/Wander’s primal existence, the immediacy of his intimate, first-person, present-tense narration proves deeply moving, especially his longing for companionship. Realistic black-and-white illustrations trace key events in this unique survival story, and extensive backmatter fills in further factual information about wolves and their habitat.

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey. (additional resources, map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289593-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.


When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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