Monday, September 18, 2017

MMGM- Survival against the odds

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Shannon Messenger's Blog and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

29774947Johnson, Terry Lynn. Falcon Wild
September 19th 2017 by Charlesbridge
E ARC from

Karma works with her family's nature education business, and is hoping that she can become an apprentice falconer. She has a gyr falcon, Stark, but learns that the bird must be returned to its original owners. Her father and brother set out on a trip to Montana to hand off Stark, and briefly pick up a hitchhiker Karma's age along the way. Cooper is uncommunicative, and Karma's father is not pleased. After dropping Cooper off, the family turns down a road and finds that Cooper has taken the family cell phone. This is problematic when a tire on the van blows, crashing it on its side and wounding Karma's father. Stark escapes, and Karma takes off for help after consulting her father. The road doesn't take her where she is expecting, and she falls into a pit. Luckily, Stark has followed her and circles above where she is, and draws Cooper to find her! They both feel bad for how they treated each other, and form an uneasy alliance to get help. Everything that could go wrong does. Karma's arm, which was injured in the crash, starts to get infected; they run into a bear; there's an unexpected dip in the river; it storms; and they are very low on food and supplies. Along with the physical trauma of surviving in the wilderness, Cooper has personal issues to work through, and Karma is greatly concerned for the safety of her brother and father. Can the two find assistance before it's too late?
Strengths: Like Johnson' excellent Ice Dogs, Falcon Wild is rich in details about back country travel and all of the challenges one might face in that environment. Cooper and Karma are not foolish about how they proceed, but they do lack some survival know-how, which gets them into all sorts of trouble. The explanations of how to work with falcons is something I haven't seen often in middle grade- other than Jean Craighead George's classic My Side of the Mountain books, I can't think of any. Readers who may have never been anywhere more dangerous than the devil strip of their own front yard adore gripping descriptions of survival, and Cooper and Karma's tentative friendship as they work together adds some more depth to the story.
Weaknesses: I found it a bit odd that Karma's father would have been so unprepared for a trip. I think I take more supplies on my bike when I go two miles to the library!
What I really think: Survival books are always in demand, and I'll be glad to add this to my library collection.

Yes, yes, we all know how much I love Thatcher Heldring's The Football Girl.
If you want to hear the sound of my voice expounding on just HOW MUCH I love it, head over to Jody Lee Mott's Dream Gardens Podcast (Talking Up The Kids' Books We Love.)


  1. Good to know your thoughts about Falcon Wild. It's been in my pile to read for a while.

  2. I'm more into reading about these types of adventures than having one of my own. I also find survival books very popular with kids. Great escapism. Thanks for all of your choices this past week. I'd only read a few of them.

  3. I'm going to be recommending this one to a friend who is looking for survival books. It sounds interesting. Thanks.

  4. This sounds like an excellent book about survival! It has a great plot and I am pleased that the book is rich in detail, like Ice Dogs ( a favorite).

  5. It is always surprising how many here in our mountains are caught without the proper gear. I know what you mean about the father, yet I hear about this often. Falcon Wild does sound good, and thanks for your ideas about The Football Girl, too.

  6. I think my son might like this one. Thanks for reviewing!

  7. Students I work with love the I Survived Books so always love to be able to recommend other survival books to them.

  8. I love survival stories. I will be looking for Falcon Wide. Thanks for the review.