REVIEWS

A Raccoon's Tale: Seven Saves the Notch
Kirkus Reviews

After her home is destroyed, a raccoon embarks on a dangerous journey to find the safe haven foretold in legend in this illustrated children’s book.

 

Hodgkins (Little Loon, 2015, etc.) offers an exciting, well-written tale that’s especially moving for its vision of a peaceable kingdom in which predators and prey cooperate against the real enemy: habitat loss and human greed. Another plus is that the author’s animal characters act (more or less) like animals rather than being disguised human beings. There are echoes of Richard Adams’ Watership Down in the creatures’ stories and in an authoritarian raccoon community that’s a mild version of Efrafra, but Hodgkins makes this tale her own. Though the environmental message is clear, the book isn’t preachy (it’s often very funny) and shows how some humans do care about and work for animals.

A rousing, feel-good animal story of courage and compassion—a winner.

Readers' Favorite

I very much enjoyed this tale of a raccoon with a mission. Fran Hodgkins’ well-written tale brings to life the story of hardship, friendship and determination as one small animal goes up against all odds to save her friends and the future of the next generation from man-made threats. Not only does it deal with those who are natural predators against one another which unite in a common goal, but they also understand that sometimes it is better to say goodbye to the ones we love in order to make the future possible. The delightful illustrations in A Raccoon’s Tale: Seven Saves the Notch help bring this incredible story to life in a fun-filled fantasy, which is sure to delight children and young adults alike. 

Fran Hodgkins has shown in writing such a dramatic tale of fantasy, incorporating the beautiful wildlife on our planet, that sometimes there are more important things than adversity and war when the future is at stake. I will read this story time and again, and recommend it to readers aged from 6 through to 15, who enjoy tales which do not take delight in bloodshed, and which show that sometimes putting aside differences is the only way to make a better future for the generations to come.

Little Loon
Down East Magazine

Hodgkins guides beginning readers through a loon chick’s first adventurous summer on a New England lake, offering gentle lessons in wildlife ecology, accompanied by Hayes’ lush watercolors.

 

San Francisco Book Review

Little Loon is the story about a loon and her first summer on the lake, and also teaches loon facts. . . .I liked Little Loon because I have seen loons at our cottage in Canada. I learned some facts about loons, like the color of the eggs, that baby loons float, and that both parents take care of the babies. I liked the illustrations, they are colorful, but I wish there was more detail of the loon’s feathers. My favorite fact is that red eyes might help them see better underwater. 

The Secret Galaxy

Midwest Book Review

The Secret Galaxy is a breathtaking, award winning presentation of the Milky
Way galaxy in text and pictures. The Secret Galaxy is both an astronomical
observation guide and text and a story of masses of stars, lived by stars, told by
descendants of stars. It is filled with poetry and beauty, encouraging junior
scientists and artists to explore its mysteries further. Its selection as a Junior
Library Guild Selection is well deserved. 

 

School Library Journal

Gr 3–6—The wonder of outer space is emphasized in this slight but awe-inspiring look at our galaxy, its stars, gases, dust, and the mysterious black matter that surrounds it all. The evocative main text, written in first person as if spoken by the Milky Way, makes references to mythology and blends facts with questions addressing the unknown ("What am I really? I am neither milk nor corn meal…"). Our connection to the stuff of stars, their birth and death, and the size and shape of our galaxy are all touched upon, along with black holes and the expansion of the universe. Besides the main text, each spread includes a factual sidebar and a captioned photo of space. Many of the images are unique to this title and were taken throughout the United States. While this is not a necessary addition to most collections, it's a thought-provoking starting point for a study of the universe.—Carol S. Surges, formerly at Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI

 


Andre the Famous Harbor Seal

School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-In 1961, Harry Goodridge, harbormaster of Rockport, ME, adopted a seal pup. In describing their relationship, Hodgkins takes readers through Andre's summers spent entertaining crowds with his tricks; winters in the sea or at nearby aquariums; a life-threatening injury sustained in a fight with another seal; the unveiling of the life-sized statue of Andre that still stands in the harbor; and, in 1986, his death on a deserted beach and Goodridge's solitary journey to bring him home and bury him. The unvarnished approach to the telling makes the final moments of the account unexpectedly touching. Frenkel's light-filled, realistic color illustrations call to mind a more innocent time. --
Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia for School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Who's Been Here?: A Tale in Tracks

School Library Journal 

PreSchool-Grade 2—This question-and-answer picture book invites readers to guess which animal is nearby based on tracks in the snow. Three children follow their dog, Willy, out for a run on a winter's day; the action takes place inside a frame of sticks on each page, with a close-up view of the tracks in the borders. The children encounter the prints of a cat, turkey, fox, raccoon, rabbit, deer, moose, bear, and skunk. This last animal has an unfortunate encounter with Willy, leading to a humorous ending. Though the overall concept and visual palette are similar to Lindsay Barrett George's In the Snow (HarperCollins, 1995), the focus here is entirely on tracks instead of various signs of animal life. Hayes's watercolors evoke the frosty air of a winter wood, and Hodgkins's simple, repetitive text allows readers to be a part of the story. With multiple curriculum connections and a style perfect for group sharing, this book is ideal for classrooms or storytimes. -- Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD for School Library Journal 
 

 

 

If You Were My Baby: A Wildlife Lullaby

 

Bookpage 

...a terrific introduction to nature. An adorable addition to your child’s collection.
 

Kirkus Reviews
Gentle teaching, snuggling and playtime moments between wildlife mothers and
their children are the highlight of Hodgkins’s offering...

 

The Cat of Strawberry Hill

School Library Journal 

Grade 1-3–A kitten with eyes that are the color of the sea scampers happily after autumn leaves while her family enjoys a picnic at a highway rest stop–until a dog arrives in another car. Chased by him, the defenseless feline becomes lost. When she finds her way back to the parking lot, her people have vanished. Alone, the ball of tawny fur falls asleep under a picnic table and is awakened by the sound of tires. Although they have two cats at home, a couple rescues the foundling, who stays at their inn on Penobscot Bay. The adopted pet quickly settles in and is named after the large pumpkins that decorate the lobby. She befriends the stream of vacationers who come to stay at Strawberry Hill, basking in their attention and growing increasingly content as the years pass. Lovely watercolors in soft hues dominate the pages, deftly capturing Pumpkins curious and friendly personality and paying homage to the beauty of the Maine coast. Cat lovers will delight in this straightforward story with a happy ending. -- Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA for School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

The Whale Scientists: Solving the Mystery of Whale Strandings

Kirkus Reviews

The text and color photographs are interesting...the many questions still left for whale researchers should intrigue young readers."-Kirkus 10/01/07
 

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
This is an engaging topic...Photographs scattered throughout keep the look inviting...
 

Columbus Dispatch
Those heartbreaking images of the sea's giant mammals beaching themselves...form the core of this investigative picture book." -
 

School Library Journal
Hodgkins packs her text with an impressive amount of information ... appealing subject and presentation.

Horn Book
"The engagingly designed pages are enhanced by well-captioned photographs." -- The Horn Book Jan/Feb 2008 Horn Book 

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