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Summary: Riley is off to Alaska to help Uncle Max count salmon and quickly discovers that nature reigns supreme here. Riley, Aunt Martha and cousin Alice travel by different modes of transportation and come across many different types of wildlife native to Alaksa. Jungle Jack (Jack Hanna) helps them when they stumble into some grizzly bears. This is a monograph in the nature/science series that covers the globe.
Type of Reading: anytime reading, family reading, read aloud book, interactive reading
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12
Age of Child: Read with 7-year-old boy. Also read by students at Menchville High School for the Use Your ABCs program.
Young Reader Reaction: Our son loved the illustrations in the book — a combination of photographs and drawings. He followed the storyline well and enjoyed the information boxes with detailed facts about the animals. He asked to read the book again the next day and wanted to go through the pictures again to see what was a real photograph and what was a drawn illustration. Menchville students: We picked this book because it looked fun and educational (I wanted to know more about salmon). It has interesting information about different animals and cool pictures; I liked the combination of real pictures juxtaposed with cartoon pictures.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a unique and very well done book. The illustrations are very interesting and there is much to learn aside from the excitement of the story.
Pros: The illustrations, blending fiction and non-fiction, and the glossary are great. Kids can easily see themselves like Riley: adventurous, into computer games, curious about the world and still frightened by it, too. Menchville students: You'll learn tons with this book.
Cons: None, really. Our child was anxious to get a passport sticker, and was surprised at the end not to see one. If you have read other Riley stories, you'll need to catch up on the new Passport rules. Menchville students: I'd like to learn more about Riley and his life.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! This book engages a younger reader through the story and the older reader with the facts. I would definitely buy it as a gift — it’s very original. Menchville students: Buy! I think this is a buy because on almost every page there is animal facts.
Educational Themes: There is plenty to explore with Riley books. You've got geography, conservation, nature, study of natural habitat, how scientific studies are conducted, animal behavior ... and more.
Notes: Best Books Award Finalist (USABookNews.com)
Literary Categories: fiction - nature, science, geography, travel, adventure, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: September 2007, June 2008
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