Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Freshly-Brewed Monday Book Recommendation #7- Operation Redwood

Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French

I was initally drawn to this book because I thought it might have some similarities to the middle-grade manuscript I am working on. Mine is a botanical adventure/mystery of sorts with a multi-cultural cast of characters and Operation Redwood is well, a botanical adventure/mystery of sorts with a multi-cultural cast of characters!

But, as is often the case, two people do not write the same book and the similarities pretty much start and end in the one sentence I described above. After I got over my fear that the books might be too similar (which happened on page one), I thoroughly enjoyed this fun and exciting book. The setting spanned from San Francisco to the Redwood Forests to a quiet homeschooling kitchen and lots of places in between. I loved it's strong sense of place and the voice of all three of the mystery-solving team: Julian, Danny and Robin.

Twelve year old Julian intercepts a hostile email sent to his Uncle Sibley and thus begins his place in the middle of the fight to save some of the oldest trees in the world. Along with his loyal and hilarious friend Danny, Julian joins forces with people he has never met, travels to places he's never been and sleeps in a tree all to stand up for what he believes in. This is a great book for any 9-12 year-old, boy or girl, who loves realistic adventure/mystery and it has the added take-away of fascinating information regarding deforestation and the Redwoods. 

Can you imagine a treehouse in this beast of a tree? The setting  imagery in my mind, as I read the forest scenes, reminded me of how it felt to read Bridge to Terabithia for the first time. I felt like I was right there with Jess and Leslie, swinging on ropes in our own private hideaway forest. This book is really special and I hope you all read it!

And to boot, can't you just see how great this book would be as part of a late elementary/middle school curriculum on the environment, forests, science, history, you could weave it into basically anything!


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