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Author: Seidler, Tor
A New Jersey squirrel named Phoenix teams up with a pack of rats in New York City to save their riverside home from being demolished and turned into a high-rise.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 6.00
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 503384
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.60
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 77457
Kirkus Reviews (06/01/19)
School Library Journal (08/01/19)
Booklist (+) (07/01/19)
The Hornbook (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2019 *Starred Review* In an irresistible cross between Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971) and Kate DiCamilo's The Tale of Despereaux (2003), comes an adventurous story of a squirrel and a pack of wharf rats, whose home is slated for demolition. Phoenix’s squirrel life starts off with a good deal of promise, but when a hawk snatches him from his wooded home, his luck takes its first of many turns. Midway through the terrifying flight, the hawk drops Phoenix onto a scalding, tar-covered road in Manhattan. The now-charred squirrel makes his way to a river, only to be washed off its dilapidated dock. When Phoenix awakens, he learns that a pair of rats, Lucy and Beckett, rescued him and brought him to their home in one of the pier’s shipping crates. The rat community will charm readers, and eventually Phoenix, with its physical and social organization and its unique inhabitants. And organize they must when a notice is posted on their pier announcing its destruction in three days’ time. Sweet pencil illustrations and impressive vocabulary (calamitous! insidious!) are sprinkled throughout, as Seidler raises the story’s stakes to electrifying levels while Phoenix and the rats endeavor to save the pier. Important personal growth accompanies Phoenix’s derring-do, making for a moving animal-fantasy kids will want to squirrel away for repeated reading. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2019 Gr 3–7—Phoenix is a lucky squirrel. He was the largest in his litter, has the most luxurious tail, and can climb the tallest trees of all the squirrels in New Jersey. His luck runs out when he is kidnapped by a chatty red-tailed hawk named Walter. But Walter doesn't have the best grip, and with Phoenix being so large, Walter drops Phoenix across the river…in Manhattan. This turn of events finds Phoenix dealing with hot tar, which burns off his fur. Then he falls into the Hudson River. Facing certain death, he is rescued by Lucy and Beckett, sister and brother rats. They take pity on Phoenix, and soon the community of wharf rats accept him as one of their own. When the rats discover that a New York developer is tearing down their home to build tennis courts, they organize themselves into a resistance movement. With his talent at climbing tall things, Phoenix is enlisted to sabotage the electrical grid. The results are surprising, even to Phoenix. When Walter returns and offers Phoenix a ride back home, Phoenix must choose the life that has the most purpose. Seidler develops engaging characters for whom readers will root. VERDICT This is a charming tale of finding oneself and choosing one's own destiny. A solid purchase for most libraries.—Amy Caldera, Dripping Springs Middle School, TX - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.