To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2003: There is a Web site for SarveyWildlife.orgthe organization that inspired Hobbs to create this fictional story of a brother and sister's experiences one summer in Seattle rescuing wildlifeeverything from baby mice to owls and hawks, bears, possums, raccoons and any other creature in difficulty. To tie the story closer to reality, the parents are doctors volunteering in Afghanistan refugee camps for Doctors Without Borders, so everyone in the family is engaged in rescue work of one kind or another. Shannon is an extremely capable 14-year-old, and her brother Cody is only seven. Both children have been traumatized by the events of 9/11 because they live across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan; Cody actually witnessed the attacks so he is especially fearful. Shannon and Cody go off each day with their Uncle Neal in his old van, answering calls about wildlife throughout the Seattle area; after Uncle Neal is injured by a hawk, Shannon takes over much of his job with amazing courage. One especially dramatic rescue is of an injured baby seal trapped in a narrow beach with the tide coming in quickly: Shannon uses her rock climbing skills to go down the cliff and bring the seal up the cliff on her back. There is a secondary plot revolving around Tyler, a troubled teenager who is doing community service work at the wildlife centerthis is required by the juvenile court after Tyler is caught torturing a dog. Within the story is a wider discussion of why people should care about wildlife. Having some experience myself with wildlife rehabilitation, I was a bit nervous about the omission of any mention of rabies. Itmay be that in the Northwest where this story takes place, rabies isn't a problem, but YA readers should know that in the regions of the country where rabies is present in wildlife, they shouldn't touch animals without being vaccinated. Also, most rehabilitation centers would have worries about liability and not allow young children (like Cody) to handle wild animals. All in all, this is a story that many YA readers, especially those who love animals, will really enjoy. The story has enough excitement in it to satisfy even the most reluctant reader. KLIATT Codes: JRecommended for junior high school students. 2003, HarperTrophy, 200p., Ages 12 to 15.
Fourteen-year-old Shannon Young describes herself and her seven-year-old brother, Cody, as "adaptable," a trait soon necessary during their summer vacation. When their physician parents are asked to serve in troubled Pakistan, the siblings hurriedly leave Weehawken for Seattle and their Uncle Neal. Adaptability begins at the airport. Neal, an aeronautical engineer, now volunteers for Jackie's Wild Seattle, a center that rescues and cares for injured wild animals. He has abandoned his beloved outdoor sports and beach apartment to live at the center. Shannon and Cody assist with the center's array of recuperating animals and accompany Neal on rescues, some gruesome with animal abuse present. After Neal is hurt rescuing a hawk, Shannon and Cody conduct dangerous retrievals to maintain the floundering center. Meanwhile, Shannon's tenacity uncovers the hidden reason for Cody's gnawing trauma over witnessing the September 11 attacks, and why Tyler, a teen convicted of animal abuse and court-ordered to volunteer at the center, really committed his crime. Neal's discovered cancer also explains much, with additional burdens appearing when the elder Youngs' e-mails stall. Summer ends with Neal's cancer disappearing, the center thriving, Cody and Tyler healing, and the Youngs' safe return. Although these combined events are not particularly realistic and require contrived situations-Neal's injury enables the siblings to participate in the rescues; Tyler and Cody's profound problems ease considerably after conversing with Shannon-this book is for younger readers who probably will not mind such stretches and will enjoy its intrigue, adventure, and happy conclusions. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M (Readablewithout serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, HarperCollins, 192p, Hazlett
Girls finally get a Will Hobbs' adventure story of their own in this contemporary novel. Fourteen-year-old Shannon and her little brother, Cody, move to Seattle to live with their Uncle Neal for the summer. Neal works as a full-time volunteer for Jackie's Wild Seattle, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates wild animals found in urban areas. Shannon isn't at all happy to be away from Connecticut at first, but after making the rescue rounds with her uncle, she soon becomes his valuable assistant. Shannon goes on some daring missions, including a rock climbing trip down a cliff to rescue a seal and into the federal courthouse elevator to save a frightened coyote. Romance enters the plot, too, when Shannon befriends Tyler, a would-be juvenile delinquent doing community service at Jackie's animal shelter. Meanwhile, Shannon's and Cody's physician-parents are in Pakistan with Doctors without Borders, Uncle Neal is trying to hide his cancer from his family, and Cody suffers recurring nightmares, taking him back to witnessing the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. Although the dialogue seems stilted and unnatural, the action-packed plot will keep readers going. Younger boy readers will enjoy it, too, as they identify with Cody. This novel is rich for discussion in class or a book group. Issues include how humans and animals can co-exist, what it means to give someone (animal or human) a second chance, and what it means to have courage. 2003, HarperCollins,
In another of Will Hobbs's engaging adventures, 14-year-old Shannon and her younger brother Cody spend summertime with their uncle Neal in Seattle while their parents travel with Doctors Without Borders. Neal drives an ambulance as a volunteer for an animal rescue center, called Jackie's Wild Seattle. When Neal gets hurt rescuing a hawk, Shannon begins to rescue animals on her own; Although rescue attempts are sometimes unsuccessful, Shannon's experiences will help readers understand life and death and the relationship between animals and human beings. Romantic interests and family relationships are also of interest in this book. All readers can enjoy this story, not just young outdoor fans. Readers will see, hear, taste, and even smell along with the characters. The scenes rescuing animals are exciting since these are so realistic and depicted in detail, the likely reason being that that the author often writes based on real events and has a lot of experiences with wildlife. 2003, Harper Collins Publishers, 197 pp., Ages young adult.
Gr 5-8-This exciting, poignant, and beautifully developed story covers a crucial few weeks for several people whose lives intertwine to change and benefit all. Shannon Young, 14, and her younger brother, Cody, traumatized by witnessing the events of 9/11, arrive in Seattle to spend the summer with their uncle while their physician parents travel to Pakistan with Doctors Without Borders. Uncle Neal is living and volunteering at Jackie's Wild Seattle, a wildlife rescue and rehab center where Tyler, an abused teen, is "doing time" for torturing a dog. Neal has not told the children that he has cancer, but Shannon overhears a conversation and finds out. When he injures his hand and is unable to perform rescues, Shannon and Cody-under his tutelage-take over with thrilling results. Tyler slowly breaks out of his shell, Cody begins to overcome his fixation with disasters, and Neal finds meaning and hope in his life through a badly injured bald eagle and a rescue dog. Seen through Shannon's increasingly maturing and observant eyes, the fabric of these characters, human and animal, is woven tightly with crisp, realistic dialogue in a remarkable story of adventure and redemption. Based on a real wildlife center and the experiences of some of its denizens, this story will reach deep into the hearts of young readers.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
An unsubtle but absorbing story about animal rehabilitation, the state of the world, fear, achievement, and trust. When 14-year-old Shannon and her little brother Cody are sent to visit Uncle Neal for the summer, they have no idea that they'll end up speeding around the greater Seattle area in an animal ambulance, rescuing various raccoons, beavers, bear cubs, and birds of prey that have been injured or orphaned. Adventure begins when Uncle Neal is injured by a hawk and Shannon takes over the rescues, wrestling a bear cub down from the rafters of a shed, rappelling down a cliff to rescue a seal, and talking a coyote out of an elevator in a downtown building. Cody loves the animals but continues to dream about the September 11 terrorist attacks, which he witnessed in person from a cliff in New Jersey. His subsequent obsession with disasters of all kinds exists alongside Shannon's fear for her parents, who have gone to Pakistan and Afghanistan to help refugees, and for Uncle Neal, whom she learns has been concealing an illness. Meanwhile, Tyler, a 15-year-old boy working at the wildlife refuge, is afraid of his violent father-just as Neal has fears about Tyler himself, who previously abused animals. Messages about the precariousness of safety and life are not subtle, but the narrative takes on no more than it can handle; animals are front and center, politics are straightforward if simple, and characters are likable. A slight awkwardness regarding race is unfortunate. Seattle-specific details ensure special fans among Seattle readers as well as among wild animal enthusiasts. (author's note) (Fiction. 9-12)