Barry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years' experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.
Gr 5-7-Lockley Puffin is an oddity among the birds of Neversink Island. Most of the puffins value stability and conformity, preferring not to stand out. Lockley has bigger dreams, and a reputation as a bit of an iconoclast. For one thing, he associates with non-auks, including Egbert, a scholarly but rather pompous walrus, and Ruby, a displaced hummingbird. Moreover, he has been known to question why the puffins have to obey obnoxious edicts from the Parliament of Owls from nearby Tytonia. Although the taxes and fees are a burden, Neversink birds live by the auk motto, "Don't Make Waves." But when evil and unstable Rozbell seizes power among the owls, the demands made on the puffin colony increase dramatically-and dangerously. Appeasing the tyrannical owl and his sinister minions doesn't seem to be working, but will resistance prove even more disastrous? It's up to Lockley and his two friends to save their island home. This animal fantasy makes some interesting points about social and individual responsibility and courage. Unfortunately, the writing style is often difficult to follow. The narrative varies in tone from arch comedy to ponderous mysticism and contains distracting dialogue anachronisms. For example, although the saga is set in a prehuman era, characters use the interjection "duh!" and the verb "off" in the sense of "kill." The action lacks focus, and there are many digressions and side comments that interrupt the story flow. Full-page illustrations appear throughout. For a stronger, more fully realized animal fantasy-world experience, steer readers to Erin Hunter's "Warriors" and "Seekers" series (both, HarperCollins).-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Neversink is an island in the Arctic populated by seabirds called auks. They live a peaceful existence, ignoring the forward-thinking ideas of one auk, a puffin named Lockley, and his friends, a walrus named Egbert and a hummingbird named Ruby. But their peaceful life is shattered when Rozbell, an evil owl, gains control of the Owl Parliament, takes over Neversink, and oppresses the auks, leaving Lockley and his friends to save the day. Emrhys Cooper brings engaging and lively narration to the story, and his creative character voices-particularly the droopy, pontificating tones of walrus Egbert and the tough English accents of Rozbell's two henchmen. Ages 8-12. A Walden Pond hardcover. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.