My Best Friend Is Extinct

Rebecca Wood Barrett, illus. by Cornelia Li. Orca, $10.95 paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-45-982442-3
Amid near-endless snowfall, Henry Springs, 10, a recent transplant from Vancouver Island, struggles to fit in at his new school in a mountain town, even after he receives a shovel as a present from his mother and joins one of the two teams creating snow tunnels in the schoolyard. While tunneling to escape bullies, Henry uncovers an injured creature that he has never seen before—one with blue eyes and white fur. Startled, he falls and suffers a concussion. But Henry can’t forget the creature’s face during his recovery, even when others doubt its existence. He soon finds the creature (a “short-faced bear”) and nurses it back to health, naming it Yarp. Henry learns that Yarp’s family is in danger from saber-toothed tigers (which he dubs “fangers”)—and that he’ll need the help of everyone at school to save Yarp and his family. Li’s whimsical b&w illustrations increase the appeal of this sweet tale. Barrett glosses over how two extinct prehistoric species have come to exist in the present day, but readers who enjoy adventure stories with animals will appreciate the fast-paced chapters and the touching bond between a boy and his bear. Ages 8–10. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/09/2021
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Children's
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