Neversink

Common Sense Media says

Epic story of a brave puffin fighting to save his homeland.

Age

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex

Sweet "kisses" between Lockley and his wife, Lucy, who's expecting a baby puffling.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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."

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Barry Wolverton
Illustrator:Sam Nielson
Genre:Adventure
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, Science and nature, Wild animals
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Walden Pond Press
Publication date:March 27, 2012
Number of pages:304
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:9 - 12
Read alone:8 - 12

This review of Neversink was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old May 19, 2012
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

The book Neversink is a good book with lots of positive aspects

I think that the book Neversink is a really good book for kids 9 and up. It is about a puffin named Lockley J. Puffin. He lives in an ancient world civilized by animals. His home Neversink was an independent colony home to auks and puffins. Then a new ruler of the owls comes into play and conquers Neversink. He is forcing the birds to pay tribute in fish that are cooked into a special food. Lockley becomes angered because his wife, Lucy, is the only one who can make the food, so she has to cook day and night. Lockley sets out on an adventure to try to help his wife, and save the rest of the colony.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

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