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The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Neversink is an engaging, inspiring, epic story of talking birds and animals in which a brave puffin fights to save his Arctic island in a time before humans. Author Barry Wolverton, a writer for National Geographic, has subtly woven environmental issues into his debut novel, as well as scientific information about the Arctic. Don't let the cute illustrations fool you -- this book is best suited for kids 9 and up. The violence is minimal but could be disturbing for younger children.
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What's the story?
In the tradition of the Redwall series, NEVERSINK follows Lockley J. Puffin, an average bird who's faced with saving his island in the Arctic Circle when the cruel owl Rozbell appoints himself king of the Owl Parliament, reversing the democratic laws that have been in place since the Cod Wars. Rozbell's unfair tax on fish first affects Lockley's wife, Lucy, and then threatens to starve all the inhabitants of Neversink. With the help of his good friends, a walrus and a hummingbird, Lockley embarks on a quest to find the exiled goddess Sedna and ask her to bring the fish back to Neversink.
Is it any good?
Funny and upbeat, Barry Wolverton's well-written debut novel is full of the kind of details that will keep readers age 9 to 12 interested. Neversink's offbeat humor, combined with facts about the Arctic -- in the time before humans -- keep the intricate plot moving. Underneath lie deep messages of friendship and loyalty, as well as the importance of caring for the Earth. Wolverton has created whimsical characters that charm: puffins who cook, scholarly walruses, and "owls with hats."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about standing up for what's right even when your friends don't. Have you ever had to go against your friends to do the right thing?
What turned Lockley from a law-abiding puffin into an outlaw?
Rozbell's taxation causes the fish to disappear from Neversink. Are there changes happening in your community that have long-term effects on the environment?
By ordering the destruction of all puffin eggs, Rozbell will cause the puffins on Neversink to become extinct. What do you think will happen if there are no longer puffins? Are there consequences in eliminating a species?
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