Author: Martine Leavitt
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review.
Tuk the bighorn sheep is told he will be the one to save his herd, but he is young and would rather play with his bandmates than figure out why the herd needs saving. As humans encroach further and further into their territory, there is less room for the sheep to wander, food becomes scarce, and the herd's very survival is in danger. Tuk and his friends set out to find Blue Mountain, a place that Tuk sometimes sees far in the distance and thinks might be a better home. The journey is treacherous, filled with threatening pumas and bears and dangerous lands, leading Tuk down a path that goes against every one of his instincts. Still, Tuk perseveres, reaching Blue Mountain and leading his herd into a new, safe place.
I'm having trouble pinning down my exact feelings on this interesting, but strange, little book. On one hand, I loved the concept and the message, but on the other hand, the writing style was hard for me to get used to.
As I mentioned, I loved the idea and message behind this book. I think it is immensely important for kids (and adults!) to understand the natural world and that our actions can affect plants and animals and ecosystems. So for that I give huge kudos to Martine Leavitt.
However, the writing style really threw me on this one. It was kind of blunt and chopping and the dialog came through very strangely for me (although since I don't speak bighorn, maybe that's how they do speak). I feel like maybe this writing style would appeal more to younger middle grade readers, since it was quite simple and they may not mind the choppiness when their own reading skills are a bit lower than my own. However, I think older readers might have some of the same issues as me (I even considered DNFing this one, but am glad I didn't).
The other thing I wasn't crazy about were the amount of characters. We are thrown a lot of names at the beginning when all the lambs were born and it was tough for me to keep track of them. Eventually they begin to become their own characters, but it was still a bit difficult for me for much of the book.
Overall, I think younger middle grade readings who are interested in nature would enjoy this book. There is quite a bit going on and some parts kind of read like a fable.
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