Escape from the Wildfire

Lorimer. Jan. 2023. 136p. Tr $27.99. ISBN 9781459417038; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781459417021.
Gr 5-8–After a prologue where ninth grader Jack barely escapes from his burning home and a brief chapter set three weeks later, readers settle into a steady tick-tock beginning almost four months before a devastating wildfire in small-town Lytton, British Columbia. Jack lives with his schoolteacher mom and a dad who is often traveling for his job coordinating wildfire response. Big sister Quinn is away training as a tree planter. Only a day after Mom leaves for an extended family visit in faraway Victoria, with Jack remaining home alone with support from neighbor Glenda, a growing wildfire rips into Lytton, beginning to consume Jack’s house even while he’s playing video games with a friend in the basement. The remainder of the story details their time in an emergency shelter and a tentative return to normal. The events surrounding the actual fire and escape take up only a fraction of the story and details are scant. Written at a fourth grade reading level, the book includes a list of discussion questions as well as recommended resources for further study in subjects such as climate and biodiversity. At times didactic and often bogged down with unimportant details, reading will be slow going for reluctant readers.
VERDICT A secondary selection where climate fiction is popular.

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