A Mountain of a Problem

Viking. (Shelby & Watts: Bk. 2). Feb. 2022. 96p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780593205358.
Gr 1-3–While investigating why a bear woke up too soon from hibernation, Shelby the fox and Watts the badger end up shedding light on the consequences of climate change. An earlier deduction by Shelby about the whereabouts of their mail carrier models how the bear investigation will work—through careful observation and reliance on evidence. Shelby and Watts gather clues from their surrounding environment, which are written in a notebook, and connect them all to reach the truth. Their observations include insights about animals, seasons, and whether you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. The animal characters are cute and have small mouths, though sometimes Shelby’s head rears back, like a Pez dispenser. Shelby and Watts return home and encourage everyone to reduce pollution. They suggest that readers use cars and energy less often and communicate with friends and corporations. There’s a slight plot hole—an Australian character mentions that back home in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s winter, but it’s also meant to be winter in Shelby and Watt’s home, located in the Northern Hemisphere. However, this doesn’t detract from the strong environmental message.
VERDICT One warm cause has many effects for the plants and animals of the world, including a call for readers to help. A solid stand-alone tale.

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