You may be one of many disappointed people who had to cancel travel plans this year, but we can still travel via books. And what better book to celebrate International Book Lovers Day than with Eva J. Pell's middle grade novel, ResQ Takes on the Takhi, released this June by Tumblehome Books, which specializes in STEM books for kids? Pell's extensive science background, including her position as Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian Insitute, informs her writing.
Where are we going with the ResQ crew? Mongolia! ResQ is formally comprised of eleven-year-old inventor, Wheaton and his cousin, twelve-year-old naturalist, Stowe. They are accompanied on this adventure by their photographer grandmother, Ariella, who has contacts in Mongolia.
Batar from Mongolia calls to ask ResQ to help round up a stray band of takhi, Mongolian wild horses, and bring them back into the national park where they belong. Wheaton's inventions, Stowe's knowledge of nature, Ariella's wisdom and familiarity with the culture, and the help of their Mongolian hosts give readers an imaginative adventure.
In joining ResQ's search for the takhi, readers learn Mongolian culture, language, climate, and geography. But Pell isn't writing a textbook. She vividly describes each scene, so that readers feel that they are part of the adventure. Wheaton and Stowe apply critical thinking, Wheaton's inventions, and what's at hand to conduct their mission. Pell amps up the suspense by making this mission time-sensitive. With a blizzard swirling around them, Wheaton and Stowe get separated from their Mongolian guide. How will they survive? Will they get reunited? Will they bring the takhi back to the park? Drawings by Alexa Lindauer enhance the text and show, among other things, what a Mongolian blizzard might be like.
I won't give any spoilers, but I will tell you this--I'd love to have a Dynochute, one of Wheaton's inventions, and I thank Eva J. Pell for an advanced reader copy of this book.
If Mongolia and the takhi don't interest you, maybe you'd like to try ResQ's first adventure--ResQ and the Baby Orangutan, which will take you to Borneo.
With books, you can go anywhere!