Posts Tagged ‘Endangered species’

The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2022

August 18, 2022 Comments off

This highly imaginative ecological fantasy is the sequel to The Silver Arrow which is also reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

The Silver arrow is a train which can communicate with humans with artificial intelligence and travel all over the world on secret railway lines which even go through the air. The train is controlled by The Great Secret Intercontinental Railway and was given to 10 year old Tom and 12 year old Kate for Kate’s birthday by their uncle Herbert who is a billionaire with ecological interests in endangered animals.

Uncle Herbert has disappeared and a new state of the art train called the Golden Swift has appeared as a rival to the Silver Arrow and controlled by a boy from Kates class called Jake and his friend Wren. They too are saving animals especially the Scottish Lynx which disappeared from Scotland centuries ago. They want to reestablish the ecological balance by returning the lynx to Scotland but is this a wise thing to do?

Lev Grossman uses the return to nature of the Demilitarised Zone between Nth and South Korea and the reintroduction of Wolves to a USA national Park as examples of how humans can return the ecological balance and food chains to the natural world. But is this what the natural world need?

The animals are not impressed by what humans have done to the environment and say every animal knows to run when humans are around. They express the opinion that humans should leave the environment alone and don’t deserve to be part of the natural world.

How is it all going to pan out? One thing for sure is this is not the last we have heard from this series.

Well written, crazy imagination and serious talk of the natural world. It poses the thought that can humans change their attitude and spoiling ways and save the environment and the life that inhabits it. We hope so.

It took me a time to get into this novel but as the plot developed I got more keen until the excellent ending. Read it and see what I mean.

ICE A Secret, A Rescue, A Terrifying Truth by Susan Brocker. Pub. Scholastic, 2022

February 18, 2022 Comments off

If I told you that this short exciting novel has a tiger, an elephant, lions, a white alsatian, a boy who tells lies and is set in Wanaka New Zealand in the death of winter you might say Yeh Right! But it is all true and the beauty of fiction is you can do this as a writer as long as it is believable. Fortunately this novel is and it has an ending to wonder over.

Zac is staying with his father, his stepmother and step sister and is a bit anxious. His father catches him out telling lies and is a little hostile so he is up against it. His father hates him playing computer games and wants Zac to get out and do things so arranges for him to work at a wild life farm with a delightful elephant named Kaya, an angry Tiger named Shaka an African trainer called Lwazi and a very shady owner called Peter Slagter which means butcher.

While in the kennels of a dog pound Zac takes a liking to a white alsatian and the dog clearly likes him. He takes it as a pet but it howls at the white mountains and clearly wants to get out there. Zac names him Ice and takes him out there or rather Ice takes him. What the two of them discover is mind blowing and leads to frantic action with a do or die ending.

It you love animals you are going to love this novel. It has an almost unlikely connection to the killing and use of endangered African animals. It had me on the edge of my seat for much of the novel.

Check it out you will not be disappointed.

Red Edge by Des Hunt

September 8, 2020 Comments off

Red Edge by Des Hunt. Pub. Scholastic 2020.

This eco adventure novel for middle school readers is one of Des Hunt’s better novels. It is easy to read, contains lots of tech talk with drones and K4 cameras and it concentrates on the smuggling and exploitation of New Zealand’s endangered species particurlaly the weta and the gecko.

Cassi lives on the edge of the Red Zone, near the Avon river in Christchurch. She runs through the Red Zone every day and forms a friendly relationship with an ex journalist and whitebaiter, Jim. Jim knows everything that goes on in the area and Cassi wants to know about an abandoned earthquake damaged house.

A mysterious woman called Raven Black is up to mischief in the house and a man called Lou Watling with his yellow Ferrari is acting furtively.

At school Cassi meets a fat boy named Quinn who is bullied and has few friends but he has a great knowledge of technology and plays a key role in trying to find out what is going on. At school Cassi befriends three girls Kaylin, Emma and Harmony all of whom are to play parts in the mystery.

The climax comes in earthquake ravage Kaikoura where a trap is set by Cassi and Co to catch the culprits who are trapping weta for export. A thrilling climax with drones heavily involved.

Excellent reading and adventure with good values, plus the descriptive passages of the Red Zone and Kaikoura are superb.

Saving Thandi by Kate S Richards.

August 16, 2020 Comments off

thandi2Saving Thandi by Kate S Richards. Pub.Green Room House 2020.

Thandi is a baby rhinoceros that accompanied Jabu, a teenage orphan who left his shanty in Soweto for Durban. They were unwittingly in the same truck together and neither forgot the experience.

Now Jabu is a famous surfer and runs a Trust for young black surfers particularly Alexia a teenage surfing sensation. Surf and rhinos come together in

the private game reserve Umfolozi which is part of the Kruger National park on the Mozambique border.

Alexia is to have a photo shoot with the baby rhinos at Umfolosi but her and her friend Billie and Jabu get involved with a battle against poachers that extends from the game parks to the Mozambique coast.

Also entering the fray is Ice, a boy who became crippled while train surfing and now has lost his job and any hope again. He is a friend of Jabu and he is to learn that there is always hope.

Excellent adventure both at sea and on the game reserve.

Very well written  with spaces between paragraphs for the reluctant reader to pause while reading. The descriptive writing is also a feature and the characters worth knowing. The sequel to Train Surfer also reviewed on this blog

Squishy Squashy Birds by Carl van Wijk & Alicia Munday.

April 12, 2015 Comments off

squishy birdsSquishy Squashy Birds by Carl van Wijk & Alicia Munday. Pub. Potton & Burton, 2015.

How come the birds are all squishy and Squashy I asked myself? Well they are in a book titled Endangered Birds of New Zealand and the book is in Sammy’s backpack.

He takes the book to school as part of show and tell, opens the book and all these wondrous birds gets out. There is the Takahe,  Toroa, Hoiho, Kakapo, Kiwi, Tieke and Kokako and they are all featured on a page by themselves in splendid colour and detail by Carl van Wijk.

Meant as means to highlight New Zealand’s endangered birds with a small pen portrait of each bird in the back of the book.

Great for school libraries and for children in their own home. My granddaughters pawed over it and it was a way in to this important subject.