Rosie’s Book Review Team
Michael and I have recently become members of Rosie’s Book Review Team. You can find out all about Rosie Amber and her great team of book reviewers here: https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/about/.
We are going to review children’s and young YA books. We are very excited to be part of this amazing team.
Our first book review as Rosie’s Book Review Team members is for a middle school book called Aster Finlay and the Great Elan by Karen Ann Wirtz.
What Amazon says
After living the nomadic lifestyle of a military child, Aster Finlay’s father is retiring, and her family is settling down into a more “normal” life. But when Aster discovers that she can communicate with animals, she realizes her life is going to be anything but normal.
Michael and I received a copy of this book though Rosie Amber of Rosie’s Book Review Team in return for an honest review.
Imagine how thrilling it would be if you could speak to animals. It would be lovely to find out all about the joys, anxieties and sorrows of the animal kingdom from the mouths of the animals.
Aster Finley discovers that she can speak to animals very quickly after she arrives at her new home in Ohio. Aster has moved a lot over her short life and is looking forward to being much more settled in her new “forever” home. Aster’s parents are doing their best to make her feel settled and happy and their efforts include building her a wonderful tree house.
It is in the tree house that Aster meets many of her new animal friends, including a bird called Poe and a groundhog called Hamilton. It doesn’t take long for Aster to discover her new talent of understanding the animals and to become embroiled in the animals plan to help all humans find their way back to the Great Elan so that the world can be saved from the greed and destructive tendencies of humans.
Aster soon learns, however, that not all the animals agree with this great plan. Some of the animals have other ideas about the role of humans in the world and are determined to sabotage any actions taken by Aster and her friends to change the status quo.
I found the beginning of this book to be a bit slow. Michael was starting to lose interest in the beginning and I had to make him carry on reading the first two chapters before the story started to pick up its pace. Once the story got going, however, it was a very good read. The other observation I made was that there are a couple of swear words in the book which seemed to be out of context and unnecessary. My son was a bit shocked and would not read them.
On the whole, I found this a charming read and my son, Michael, aged 11 years old, really enjoyed it. We particularly loved the happy-go-lucky and fun-loving Hamilton. Our rating for this book is 4 out of 5 stars.
A recent Amazon review
An Amazon customer rated this book five out of five stars and said:
Sometimes it would be nice to be a kid again: carefree, innocent, and seeing the world for its true beauty. Some would say now more than ever we need this escape, and I tend to agree. Karen Ann Wirtz captured this sentiment perfectly for me in her newest middle-grade fantasy, “Aster Finlay and the Great Elan.”
Through the eyes of her main character, ten year old Aster (with a new-found gift to speak with animals), the reader is reminded to “Close your eyes. Quiet your mind. Open your heart” to the surrounding world. Wirtz portrays to the reader a natural world in disarray, teaching a valuable lesson to young readers that our actions, even our day-to-day tasks, have far-reaching consequences to our planet. Wirtz presents this dire circumstance in an engaging adventure that places Aster, alongside her new animal friends, against other members of the animal kingdom set to reap revenge against the humans that marred their landscape. Wirtz creates an ensemble of unforgettable characters that will endear themselves to young and older readers alike, all the while striving to re-establish the human role in safeguarding the natural order.
“Aster Finlay and the Great Elan” is a fascinating story and a powerful follow-up to Wirtz’s debut middle-grade fantasy, “A Game of Truths.” Both have found a permanent home on our kids’ bookshelves.
Purchase Aster Finlay and the Great Elan
Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town