Rescue on Turtle Beach

HarperCollins/Harper. (Wind Riders: Bk. 1). Jul. 2021. 128p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063029255; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780063029248.
Gr 1-3–Max, a white boy with light hair, has always lived in Starry Bay. Sofia, a girl with brown skin and dark hair, is just visiting for the summer with her parents. While trying to save a seagull tangled up in fishing twine, they stumble across a part of Starry Bay that neither of them has ever seen before, and an abandoned fishing boat called the Wind Rider. These two environmentally minded kids are so intrigued they hop onto the boat and, before they know it, are magically whisked away to Hawaii. There, they encounter a new friend who’s concerned that the baby sea turtles at the beach won’t make it to the ocean because of light pollution. The three team up to prevent the turtles from losing their way before time runs out. This is the first installment in a new young reader chapter book series that promises to focus on manmade environmental issues. It features illustrations on almost every page and a simple, easy-to-follow story that emphasizes plot over character. Readers will learn scientific facts in a way that is informative but not didactic. Back matter includes Sofia’s diagram of the Wind Rider, Max’s favorite sea turtle facts, an overview of Hawaii’s biodiversity, and notes on how to help save sea turtles.
VERDICT This fun, imaginative series is similar to “The Magic Treehouse” and joins a growing movement toward STEM-focused stories in children’s literature.

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