Monday, January 28, 2013

Reviews: Moonbird and Seraphina

Review: Moonbird: A year on the wind with the great survivor B95
Published by: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-374-30468-3
Reading Level: Grades 5 and up


Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Published by: Doubleday Canada, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-66839-2
Reading Level: Grades 9 and up

I've chosen to review Moonbird and Seraphina in the same entry NOT because they have overwhelming similarities but because what I have to say applies to both. One is a fiction novel about a half dragon caught up in a mystery, the other is a non fiction tale of a bird migration and of B95, a bird who has made the journey over 18 times - flying the distance one would travel from Earth to the Moon and halfway back again. So, no true similarities but one: I disliked both but knew I was reading good stuff.

I don't like dragons - or even half dragons and thus a plot surrounding them is not to my taste. 'Seraphina' reads well and the storyline is interesting - murder, intrigue, fighting between groups. However, make those groups dragons and humans and throw in descriptions on how to clean your scales and I'm out. I enjoyed it more in this second reading (I reviewed it previously for 'Resourcelinks and had a ARC). I can see literary merit in this book - well written, strong plot, well developed characters. I just did not like it. 

The same is true of 'Moonbird'. In this saga about the migration of the rufa red knot, we learn about the travel and diet patterns of this bird species. These birds travel from Terra del Fuego in South America to the breeding grounds of the Canadian Arctic. The migration habits of this group have been tracked as well as their population. Scientists have tagged and identified many of the rufa, tracking them year after year. B95 was tagged 18 years ago and is still flying. Given the fact that the population of the rufa has dropped 80% in the past 20 years, his survival is fairly epic. This is a full colour book, pullouts of bios, features and facts an dis nicely written. However, I couldn't find it in me to care for these birds. That sounds callous but honest - I thought the story was fascinating, I was just not inspired to help. I did like that they mentioned Parks Canada in the list of groups and resources of people for those who are inspired to help - Parks Canada does great work and should be mentioned.

Both books received a 4/5.

Good reads page Seraphina
Good Reads page Moonbird.


Post a Comment