Continuing the adventures of Kenzie of Island Sting fame, Doerr presents Stake Out (Leap Press, 2011) her second eco-mystery to take place in the Florida Keys. In the first book Kenzie helped to rescue the miniature Key deer. In this sequel, another great middle school novel for boys and girls, Kenzie and her side-kick Angelo devote themselves to figuring out who wants to sabotage the local sea turtle population.
I enjoyed the language that Doerr used to capture the action, characters, and setting. In this segment, Kenzie is rowing a boat out on the sea to hunt for the turtles' nests. A storm is brewing and the reader is pulled into the story:
Kenzie pulled hard agains the water.
The strong current surprised her. The shore appeared no nearer.
How close was the storm? Hard to tell now that the rumbling had stopped. She leaned out from under the canvas top for a larger view. Minutes ago the blinding-blue sky perched on a horizon of white, puffy clouds. Clouds that now billowed with gray. Above the island, charcoal clouds swelled and piled. No soaring seabirds. No blue. Vast silence.
Creepy. (p. 13)
Doerr introduces a new character in this book: spunky Ana, who despite being confined to her wheelchair, is an important member of the team who uncovers the villain and helps solves the mystery.
Doerr's commitment to teaching young readers to value and protect their environment suffuses this book with great educational value. Author Notes include information on threats to sea turtles, the Turtle Hospital, and relevant websites. Teachers can click here to find helpful classroom resources.
To celebrate a new year of books and reading, I am giving away a signed copy of Stake Out. Leave me a comment with your email address (if I don't have it) before the evening of January 1 and I'll enter your name. Hurry--the new year will be here before you know it!