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Operation Redwood

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Overview

Clandestine e-mail exchanges, secret trips, fake press releases, and a tree-house standoff are among the clever stunts and pranks the kid heroes pull in this exciting ecological adventure. 

“Sibley Carter is a moron and a world-class jerk,” reads Julian Carter-Li in an angry e-mail message meant for his greedy, high-powered uncle. The fateful message sets him on the course to stop an environmental crime! His uncle's company plans to cut down some of the oldest California redwood trees, and it's up to Julian ...

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Operation Redwood

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Overview

Clandestine e-mail exchanges, secret trips, fake press releases, and a tree-house standoff are among the clever stunts and pranks the kid heroes pull in this exciting ecological adventure. 

“Sibley Carter is a moron and a world-class jerk,” reads Julian Carter-Li in an angry e-mail message meant for his greedy, high-powered uncle. The fateful message sets him on the course to stop an environmental crime! His uncle's company plans to cut down some of the oldest California redwood trees, and it's up to Julian and a ragtag group of friends to figure out a way to stop them. This thrilling, thoughtful debut novel shows the power of determined individuals, no matter what their age, to stand up to wrongdoing.

John and Patricia Beatty Award
(California Library Association)
National Green Earth Book Award

National Outdoor Book Award honorable mention

Carol D. Reiser Book Award

“Fast paced and full of fun . . . Reminds readers that everyone, no matter how large or small, can take action on issues that are important to them.” —School Library Journal

“One of the finest children's novels of the year . . . A true emotional journey full of adventure, friendship, complex morality, trust, lies, and discovery.” —A Fuse #8 Production


 

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis J. Perry
This is an adventure story involving a small group of children who try to save a stand of California redwoods. The main character is Julian. His father is dead and his mother is in China for four months on a photography trip. In her absence, Julian stays with his aunt and uncle who are rich, have a son of their own, and clearly do not enjoy keeping Julian in their home. In fact they are making plans to ship him off to math camp for the summer. When Julian gets ill one day at school, and has to wait for hours in his uncle's office for a ride home, he checks on two incoming office emails. One reveals how little his aunt and uncle like him. The other, from a girl named Robin, criticizes his uncle's corporation for planning to cut redwoods at Big Tree Grove. As a result, an email correspondence grows between Julian and his best friend, Danny, with Robin, who lives near the grove of Redwoods. Wanting to get away from his aunt and uncle and not looking forward to math camp, Julian and Danny come up with a plan. Julian will pretend to go to math camp but instead will go as an intern to Big Tree Grove, living with Robin's family and trying to help save the redwoods. Julian's aunt uncovers the subterfuge and drags Julian home. Then another scheme is hatched. The book is packed with lively adventure and humor and will keep the reader's attention. The aunt and uncle are drawn rather heavy-handedly, but the other characters, young and old, are interesting and more complex. It carries a strong environmental message. Reviewer: Phyllis J. Perry
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7–When Julian Carter-Li, 12, becomes ill, he is sent by his school to the office of his wealthy, bullying uncle with whom he lives. There he sees email from a Robin Elder degrading the man for being “a moron and world class jerk,” and he quickly becomes fascinated with this spirited person. Through their exchanges, Julian learns that homeschooled Robin lives next to a grove of redwood trees that his uncle’s company plans to harvest, and Julian ditches math camp to see the trees for himself. Drawn to both the forest and Robin’s family, Julian embarks on a campaign to save the trees, and the children take up residence in the Elder family’s tree house. With his friend Danny and Robin, he faces down his uncle to save the forest. Fast paced and full of fun, the story captures the excitement and satisfaction of defeating a large corporation. Situations are sometimes resolved too easily, and character development is spotty, but the story motivates readers to turn the pages regardless. Julian’s relationship with his younger cousin is well done, balancing the tension of a favored kid with genuine affection. Teachers will be able to use this novel for Earth Day discussions and can foster conversations on environmental activism of all types. The resolution reminds readers that everyone, no matter how large or small, can take action on issues that are important to them.–Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
This satisfying eco-adventure stars sixth grader Julian Carter-Li, who has been left with a rich uncle in San Francisco while his mother researches in China. A leisurely buildup introduces the characters, outlines the issue of cutting old-growth redwoods and recounts the serendipitous series of events that leads Julian to discover and run away from his uncle's plan to send him to summer math camp. Hiding out at Huckleberry Ranch, he and new friend Robin explore the neighboring forest his uncle has a permit to clear-cut. The suspense ramps up as Julian is discovered and returned to the city. Helped by best friend Danny Lopez, he and Robin hatch a series of plans to save the grove. Though traditional in concept-a band of young people, a summer adventure and the timely appearance of a previously unknown relative-the absorbing third-person narrative is modernized with the inclusion of e-mails. Adults play stock roles; the focus is on the young-a group that becomes gratifyingly diverse in age as well as experience and ethnic background. A highly enjoyable read. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810983540
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 236,851
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

S. Terrell French once spent two months as a Forest Service volunteer in Alaska. Now she is an environmental lawyer who lives with her family in San Francisco. Operation Redwood is her first novel, and has won several awards. Find out more at www.operationredwood.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2010

    Loved IT!

    Operation Redwood The fictional novel Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French was an uplifting story set in current day California. The story begins when Julian, the main character, gets sent home to his Uncle Sibley's office from school because he is sick. While at Sibley's office, he intercepts an email about how his aunt and uncle, who he is staying with for the summer, are planning to send him away to math camp. He also opens an email from a girl named Robin who is furious at Sibley for cutting down all of the Redwood trees in her next door neighbor's yard. Julian sends the email to his friend Danny, and then deletes it. Later, Danny and Julian get in touch with Robin, who is an eleven year old girl that is homes schooled and lives next door to a place called Big Tree Grove, where Sibley is planning to cut down all of the Redwoods. Julian, Robin, and Danny form a plan that involves Julian running away to Robin's house instead of going to math camp. While at Big Tree Grove, Julian falls in love with the land and can not wait to protest against his uncle cutting down all of the beautiful trees. Then Julian gets taken away suddenly from Robin and her family by his Aunt Daphne. While home at Sibley and Daphne's house, Julian is tortured so his Chinese grandmother, Popo, takes him away from them. After, he receivers another email from Robin, who is inviting Julian, Danny, and her old friend Arial back up to her house to protest in a tree house right in the middle of Big Tree Grove. The book ends with a suspenseful secret about Julian's family. There were many positives about the book, and very few negatives. One positive is Julian's character because he's curious, amusing, and has an interesting life. Another positive is the ending of the book because it's cheerful, but also mysterious. A final positive was the friendship between Julian and Robin, even though they are a boy and a girl. One negative about the book was that Aunt Daphne and Uncle Sibley were so mean, and just did not have good personalities. A second negative was that the book was not very descriptive; it was more about the actual plot. A last negative was that Julian had a pretty sad life story, with his father dying when he was a small child, and his aunt and uncle hating him so much. The author did an excellent job with making sure the book had mostly positives, and very few negatives. The author, S. Terrell French, had a very interesting writing style. The story sounds like a child wrote it, even though it was written in the third person, where the author tells the story. For example, "But as he'd sat, staring at the python tattoo that snaked its way up the fat pink neck of the taxi driver, it had occurred to Julian that he'd just gotten into a car with a stranger and was completely at his mercy." S. Terrell French also uses very descriptive words, such as disarray and tirade. Lastly, the author uses the five senses frequently, like when Julian said that he could almost taste the sweet water that the girls were drinking. S. Terrell French's writing style is entertaining and easy to read. I would highly recommend Operation Redwood. One reason I would recommend this novel is because lots of kids of all ages can relate to it. There is some action, some drama, and a few laughs along the way. I think boys and girls especially between the ages of 9 and 12 would enjoy this novel, as well as people who love adventure because there is a tremendous amount of adventure in

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Fantastic

    I was impressed with the detail and description the author provided through out the book. I recommend it for all readers ages 8- 13.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Exciting and informative

    It made me long for a sequel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Awesome

    I read the book and it is awesome!It has alot of action in it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    highly recommened

    very good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    In OPERATION REDWOOD, four young kids take on big business to save a forest full of giant redwood trees.

    Debut author S. Terrell French has written an adventure filled with creative ideas, spunky ambition, and a love of the environment.

    Julian Carter-Li is staying with his uncle and aunt while his mother travels to China to photograph Buddhist temples. Things are not going well. Julian doesn't seem to be able to do anything according to the strict rules his aunt has established, and his uncle seems constantly disappointed in him. In fact, while alone in his uncle's fancy office, Julian stumbles across an extremely insulting email. It appears that his uncle believes Julian is unruly and "sullen" just like his late father. Julian can't believe what he is reading.

    Another email that attracts Julian's attention is from a young girl complaining that IPX, his uncle's company, is planning to destroy an area of redwood forest known as Big Tree Grove. Although he has never met this girl named Robin, Julian can relate to her anger that a huge company like IPX, that already has more money than he can imagine, would want to destroy something as important and historical as the redwoods just to make more money selling lumber.

    Julian keeps the emails he reads a secret until he hears his aunt's plans to send him off to Math Camp for the summer. He appeals to his friend, Danny, for help. When he tells Danny about the emails, Danny begins to concoct a plan that would keep Julian from spending his summer doing math calculations and instead possibly saving the redwoods.

    What follows is a daring adventure. Julian and Danny scheme to get Julian out of the city and off to Big Tree Grove where he can help Robin protect her old-growth forest. They may be just a few young kids, but they have big ideas. Even when their plans seem to be wrecked by Julian's annoying and interfering aunt, they manage to use creativity and determination to keep their eye on the goal.

    OPERATION REDWOOD provides excellent reinforcement for conservation lessons and the importance of preserving our natural habitats. It would work for readers in the 8-13 age group for independent reading or as a great classroom read-aloud.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2014

    Sandstorm

    She lies down on a branch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Great read!

    I thought this was a very good book! It was about people trying to save trees!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    Reading this @ school. Good book.

    (Erin and Margot) Awesome book. Really enjoy it. Suspenseful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Is the book good?!?!

    Tg

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Anonyous January 20 2012

    It wasn't my absolute favorite

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com

    Twelve-year-old Julian Carter-Li has no idea that adventure will soon find him. All he knows is that his mother is on a grant-paid trip to China that should enhance her career as a photograph, while she's gone he has to stay with his mean-spirited aunt and uncle since no one else is available to take care of him, and he may have to spend his entire summer shuttling from one undesirable camp after another.

    He is resigned to his fate until he inadvertently reads an email intended for his uncle that launches a relationship with a girl named Robin who lives on a farm in California's redwood country. Before he knows it, Julian is working against his uncle's company to save a grove of old-growth redwood trees from the saw, and he's taking extreme for him measures to get the attention of anyone who may have the power to save the trees. All while learning about farm life and personal responsibility.

    Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French combines eco-adventure with common childhood fantasies: to live in a tree house far above the rest of the world and to make grown-ups pay attention to what a kid has to say. While there's no doubt the story take a pro-environment stance, it's not preachy in getting a message across. Instead we see Julian, Robin and their friends Danny and Ariel learn how they can make a difference to something they feel is very important. And though the ending may have a touch of the stuff of fairy tales, I found Operation Redwood a delightful and fun adventure to read. I recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls nine to twelve.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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