*Received free copy in exchange for an honest review
Barry Wolverton’s masterful middle-grade debut, Neversink, is an epic tale of some very un-epic birds, a fast-paced and funny story of survival, friendship, and fish, in the vein of Watership Down and Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath.
Along the Arctic Circle lies a small island called Neversink, home to a colony of odd-looking seabirds called auks, including one Lockley J. Puffin. With their oceanfront views and plentiful supply of fish, the auks have few concerns—few, save for Lockley’s two best friends, Egbert and Ruby, a know-it-all walrus and a sharp-tongued hummingbird.
But all of this is about to change. Rozbell, the newly crowned king of the Owl Parliament, has long had his scheming eyes on the small colony to the north. Now Neversink’s independence hangs in the balance. An insurgence of owls will inevitably destroy life as the auks know it—unless Lockley can do something about it.
Life on Neversink is quiet and the auks are content to have it so. But there is disease on Tytonia and one fearful owl, Rozbell is determined to turn the land of Neversink into his own personal slave island. But not all the auks are willing to go with the flow, one lowly auk, Lockley is willing to face death to save his family and land.
In Neversink you have a land of birds, owls and a few other sea faring creatures that are in a battle to change the status quo. Granted you have some that want a change for very selfish reasons, while others want change just to not be stagnant and to keep them moving forward. One is evil, as you could probably already guess, while one is the unsung hero; determined to bring about change and save a land that doesn't realize it wants to be saved.
Owls and auks live divided. Owls on Tytonia and auks on Neversink. The two never visit each others lands. They live in harmony and all are perfectly happy to keep it that way. Well everyone except for Rozbell who wants nothing more than to become a dictator to both Neversink and Tytonia. Rozbell has evil plans. Plans that will leave everyone with a sour taste in their mouth.
Reading Neversink was a lot like watching the perfect Disney movie. One of the things I have always loved about Disney was their uncanny ability to turn the life of animals into a life like any other. To make those animals as real as any person. And Barry Wolverton did that. He breathed life into each of the characters of Neversink causing me to actually forget at times that this was a tale about animals. His characters were all well developed and had great stories that helped me to connect to each of them.
Neversink was an absolutely adorable fun read that had me chuckling at every corner. I cheered for the good guys, booed the bad guys and gasped at moments that took me by complete surprise. Neversink is a fun tale that will take you back to a simpler time in life where animals had voices and led very full lives.
About the Author~
I have been writing for children for 20 years, helping create educational books, documentaries, and online content for Discovery Networks, National Geographic, the Library of Congress, Scholastic, and Time-Life Books.
My debut novel, NEVERSINK, is now available in paperback. The first book in THE VANISHING ISLAND trilogy releases in early 2015.