A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Woven into Neversink's plot is a crash course in the Arctic tundra and the birds that inhabit it. No reader will come away from this book confusing a puffin with a penguin. Additionally, Egbert the Walrus is a scholar who not only uses big words but also defines them for the reader. The author also deftly infuses lessons about stewardship of the Earth into the storyline.
Lockley J. Puffin is as complacent as the average puffin, but when his family and quiet life on Neversink are threatened, he's forced to take a stand and then risks his life to save his fellow auks. Lockley, his wife Lucy, and their friends demonstrate loyalty and self-sacrifice for the good of their community.
Positive Role Models
Lockley can no longer sit by and watch the evil King Rozbell pass laws that threaten the livelihood of his family and community. With the help of his wife, Lucy, and good friends Egbert (a walrus) and Ruby (a hummingbird), he stands up to Rozbell's cruel and unfair authority. Egbert and his passion for learning lead them to the one place, a library, that holds the key to saving Neversink.
Violence & Scariness
King Rozbell orders birds who betray him to be killed. Some escape, but young children may be disturbed by this. A snowy owl watches her twin be killed by an eagle owl, though the killing is brief and not graphic. Rozbell also orders all the puffin eggs to be collected as food for the owls.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sweet "kisses" between Lockley and his wife, Lucy, who's expecting a baby puffling.
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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.
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."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.