cover image Jaguarundi


Virginia Hamilton, E. Hamilton. Blue Sky Press (AZ), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-590-47366-8

When Rundi Jaguarundi and Coati Coatimundi, creatures of a threatened rain forest, decide to journey north in search of a more congenial habitat, some animals caution them to stay-``Adapt is what we must do,'' warns the Big Brown Bat. But no matter how far Rundi and Coati travel, they find more hunters, houses and fences, and Rundi wonders if ``north must be farther on.'' In a preface Hamilton (The People Could Fly) suggests that ``the story parallels humans who escape their homelands in search of better, safer lives'' and that it includes ``a classic symbolism of fleeing North.'' Despite the weighty themes and despite Cooper's (Brown Honey and Broomwheat Tea) sometimes strikingly handsome artwork and arresting cover, this book is not up to Hamilton's usual standards. The 17 animals included are described in terms of encyclopedia-style tidbits, and their stilted conversations can sound like tracts (Coati and Rundi ``go off to a shady spot among the spiny bromeliads''; says Rundi: ``The forest canopy is going. I'm afraid we wild animals will go with it.''). An endnote profiles each of the cited animals, with special attention given to the plights of the endangered. Ages 5-12. (Oct.)