Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: Animal Planet Adventures

Animal Planet Adventures is a new chapter book series that incorporates non-fiction into a novel that revolves around a pair of children and animals. Two titles kick the series off. I received these courtesy of the publisher and read them aloud to a fifth grade class.

Dolphin Rescue by Catherine Nichols. Illustrated by Bryan Langdo. 112 p. Liberty Street/ Time Inc. Books, February, 2017. 9781618931696.

Siblings Mattie and Atticus live with their fisherman father near the ocean. Their cousin Zach and his dog, Norville are visiting for the summer. Maddie volunteers at the local aquarium and she and her brother are upset about the recent rashes of garbage dumping around their small, close-knit community. One day, the two spy a pod of dolphins that seemed to be in distress. They were circling a young dolphin who was in trouble. It had become entangled in some netting that had been dumped along with other trash. After they free the dolphin, Maddie and Atticus are determined to find the culprit.

Farm Friends Escape! by Gail Herman. Illustrated by Bryan Langdo. 112 p. Liberty Street/ Time Inc. Books, February, 2017. 9781618931680.

Eleven-year-old cousins, Luke and Sarah look forward to spending a good part of each summer at their grandparents' farm in Maine. They get along pretty well despite the fact that Sarah veers toward seriousness and Luke's a joker. This year, they arrive to find that they are responsible for running the petting zoo this year. It's a big responsibility that Luke doesn't take as seriously as Sarah. The two notice a boy lurking about but they are unable to find out who he is and why he's always watching. When the animals escape, the children put their heads together to find them and the boy becomes the prime suspect.

Both books feature relatable, likable boys and girls who love animals and care for the environment. The books are attractively designed, feature a nice font size and generous white space. Drawn illustrations depict the story and full-color photographs are inserted sporadically to provide information related to sea life in Dolphin Rescue and farm animals in Farm Friends Escape. The mysteries in each are engaging and mildly suspenseful with fun twists as the solutions are revealed. My only dilemma as the person reading these aloud was when to interrupt the story to share the information. 

My students listened eagerly and gave each thumbs up. They are interested in reading more in the series. The next two installments are due out in September. These are Puppy Riddle Rescue and Zoo Camp Puzzle. Recommended for readers between grades 2/3 - 5. 

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