HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to these middle grade books making their rounds through our reviewers!
Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of these books. All opinions are our own.
THE MISSING BARBEGAZI – by H.S. Norup
November 12th 2019 ~ Jolly Fish Press
Photo and Review by Kelly ~ originally on Instagram @kidlitunderground
Just when you thought every single story in Eurocentric folklore had been retold a billion times: Meet the barbegazi, a furry white Alpine gnome/mini Bigfoot creature that for some reason isn’t discussed much online. I guess most cryptid hunters can’t ski that well?⠀⠀
Eleven-year-old Tessa is still reeling from the death of her grandfather, known locally as a kook due to his past claims that he’d seen one of the fabled barbegazi. Until the day she sees Gawion while skiing and he saves her when she falls into a deep snowbank. ⠀
Gawion broke his dad’s rule not to have anything to do with humans – Papa was kind to one once 154 years ago and got locked in one of Queen Victoria’s zoos as a reward for his kindness. But Gawion also had a human friend (Tessa’s grandfather) who’d bring him frozen berries.⠀
Unfortunately, a cryptid hunter/disgraced biologist at Tessa’s mom’s hotel has captured Gawion’s sister Maeg. The sociopathic Dr. Bahne will stop at nothing to keep his catch chained and save his reputation – including stage Tessa’s death.⠀
Bahne fails in a somewhat quick, though humorous and satisfying conclusion, and Tessa and Gawion get their happy ending, with the promise of a secret friendship.⠀
Tessa/Gawion’s story is probably complete, but I’d definitely be around for more stories about skiing and obscure European monsters from Norup. (Or anyone really). THE MISSING BARBEGAZI had just the right balance of adventure, magic, and pre-teen friend strife to keep me turning pages. ⠀
Words like aestivate and piste may send kids (or adults) to a dictionary. A skiier for over 30 years, perhaps I’m not the best judge, but the narrative of some of Tessa’s races might be a little tough for a non-skiier to follow.
BUGS IN DANGER – by Mark Kurlansky
November 12th 2019 ~ Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Photo and Review by Laura ~ originally on Instagram @librarianmsg
If the aim of this book was to terrify the reader then it achieved its purpose. #MarkKurlansky clearly details all the reasons why insects are so important to biodiversity, plants, pollination and humans. He also explains how badly endangered many species are…and how it’s all our fault. From pesticide use to light pollution to habitat loss to climate change, we humans are killing off important bugs. My only criticism of this book is that it’s a little light on suggestions for how to save insects…but maybe that’s because we are too far gone? Yikes. He briefly mentions the importance of economic incentives in poor nations so they won’t clear important habitats; that struck me as particularly interesting. Returning to biological control of pests would be a difficult transition, but a necessary one since pesticide use is a primary culprit. Overall, this is an excellent (and terrifying read). Highly recommended for all middle and high school libraries.
🐝 🦋 🐞
Pictured with my favorite açaí bowl from @peoplespressed because nearly all the ingredients in here are possible due to pollination. Pollination without bees and other insects is possible, but is crazy expensive and difficult. In a world without bees only the rich would eat a treat like this and even then only rarely. 😳 .
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