June 10, 2010

Review- A Place for Delta by Melissa Walker

Title: A Place for Delta
Author: Melissa Walker
Publisher: Whale Tale Press

From Goodreads
Joseph can hardly believe what he has been asked to do. His Aunt Kate, a wildlife biologist, is waiting for him at a research station and needs his help taking care of an orphaned polar bear cub only a few months old. He will leave his friends and family and venture to the farthest northern town in the United States. As the adventure unfolds, Joseph and his newfound Eskimo friend Ada find mysteries wherever they look. The bear cub, Delta, remains in danger. Who would want a polar bear dead? Joseph will have to look to the North Georgia woods to save Delta. When his parents were kids, they too embarked on an excursion into the unknown. Their encounters with the wilderness beyond their backyard have shaped the future for Joseph and Delta. A Place for Delta is about one family's journey—a passage born in the Appalachian Mountains and leading to the Arctic.

My Review
As a whole I liked this story.  It was a sweet story that made you go awwwwwwww.  I also like that it addressed (althought briefly) the ideas of global warming, being environmentally aware and being respectful of other people's backgrounds and cultures. Big topics that could've seen more play, but I liked that they didn't get preachy.  The young main character, Joseph was a nice sweet kid, but I really like the girl he met in Alaska, Ada.  She was smart girl, and I liked that about her. Whenever they needed a plan, Ada had one and a good one! The adults in the story were good people that treated the kids with tons of respect - something I know kids reading the book will love! The story of Delta, the polar bear cub they found was interesting because it gave readers a bit of an insight into the lives of polar bears.  The mystery surrounding Delta and her mother will keep younger readers interested and curious - although I pretty much saw what was coming. Over-all it was just a nice sweet read.

With all that I liked about the book, there were some elements that I didn't like.  As much as I liked Joseph I found his character a bit unrealistic.  I know many kids his age, and his actions and seriousness are not something I see a lot of.  I also found the whole curcumstances surrounding his going to Alaska a bit far fetched - or maybe just too easy.  One email and his mom packs him up and sends him to Alaska. Yes he's going to stay with his aunt, but it still seemed a little too easy.  I will say that I don't think the intended audience for this book would have an issue with it.  That also goes for the way the "mystery" about Delta's mother was solved.  It also seemed a bit too simple for the adult side of me. I can over look that because it did fit with the sweetness of the story. The one part that really did bother me was how easy it was to find a new place for Delta to live.  And I didn't really like where they found because it seemed pretty unrealistic to me.  Maybe a lot of my feelings towards this part of the book was more because of how quickly it all happened.  I couldn't buy into it.  I don't know how kids will look at these events, but they might not be bothered by them. 

I do have to give a brief thought on the ending.  Although I saw what was coming, I think kids will love what happens. They'll wish they lived on a big lot of land with history!

Final thought: At it's core, a sweet story with heart.

Best stick-with-you image: Delta eating the fish.

Best for ages 8-11 It really is best for the younger crowd.

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