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Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew Hardcover – June 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1–4—When Nurk opens a letter addressed to his grandmother, Surka, his first concern is that he has committed mail fraud. After discovering his adventurous grandmother's journal, in which she vowed to take risks, his second thought is that he should return the missive. He builds a boat out of a snail shell and heads down the river. He discovers that the letter was sent by the Princess of the Dragonflies, soliciting Surka's help. The king informs Nurk that the prince needs rescuing from Grizzlemole, an oversize blind mole and a generally terrible creature. Nurk bravely takes on the quest and, with help from passages in the journal, succeeds fairly easily. Each chapter includes an undistinguished heavy-line black-and-white ink drawing. Vernon's writing shows some flair, but overall the story's effectiveness is hampered by some slow parts and a plot that relies on predictable contrivance and coincidence.—Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

URSULA VERNON is a freelance illustrator, artist, and, in her words, a "creator of weird thingies." Nurk is her first book for young readers. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152063757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152063757
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. J. Reno on May 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a book the whole family can enjoy -- this is the book. If you're looking for a book for your pre-teens with a vocabulary-expanding text and winsome illustrations -- this is the book. If your child is not quite ready for the Redwall series, but you'd like to introduce them to that type of literature -- this is the book. If you're looking for something to read out loud to keep your children entertained on a wet summer afternoon or a long car ride, this is the book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is targeted towards a younger audience, and I still really enjoyed it! It's a very imaginative story of an uncertain hero who lets his openness to adventure take him on a wild journey.

I like books whose artwork is done by the author, because you know what you are seeing is really coming from the mind of the author and not interpreted by someone else. Since the author is also a really good artist, this combo comes together seamlessly.

I look forward to reading more of Ursula Vernon's stories, if her future books are anywhere near as creative and fun as this one then she'll go far.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The wonderful world of Ursula Vernon this time featuring Nurk, grandson of a Very Brave Shrew whom readers of Digger will remember with fondness. A terrific read for youngsters and old fogies like me, there's adventure, bravery, surprise, friendship, kindness, hope, more bravery and a modest but excellent overall message throughout, along with some truly fine illustrations.

My grandkids are a little young for Nurk now but I look forward to sharing it with them soon: kids need hope and bravery, fine illustrations and kindness and friendship and more bravery. And so do we all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A decent children's story. It's entertaining enough and well written, but it lacks the appealing quirkiness of much of Ursula's other work (such as her delightful Dragonbreath series). It reads like _The Hobbit_ would if Bilbo were a shrew named Nurk—happily without the condescending tone that Tolkien too frequently fell into. A must read if you're a fan of the author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew by Ursula Vernon. It's obviously partly a spoof of The Wind in the Willows, so that was nice.

I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible, or Castle Hangnail, both by the same author.

This is partly because it's nowhere near as funny as the other two books.

I don't regret buying it, or reading it, though.
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Format: Hardcover
Regardless of publication order, I read this book *after* Digger, which I believe to be the proper order of things. In this story, the grandson of Surka the brave shrew from Digger receives a letter asking for help. Just after that, he finds his grandmother's diary. Quotes from the diary help him get moving out into the world to find his adventure.

"IT seEMs to me ThAt if I kEeP wAitinG uNtiL I am olDeR, oNe day i'LL diScoVeR thAt I aM olD, aNd I wiLl sTiLL nOt hAVe HaD aN AdVenTuRe!"

This is a sweet book that has an unforced emphasis on being polite, being prepared, helping people, and finishing what you start. The quotes from Surka are fabulous (mostly) and definitely add to the story.

And now I have a whole pile of new names for future pets. Nurk's full name is Nurkus Aurelius Alonzo Electron Maximilian Shrew. Surka's name is Surka Aurelia Maxine Shrew. Also, "surka" is the name of the plant that gives Aerin so much trouble in The Hero and The Crown. So, maybe not.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Ursula's art for years, and I was thrilled for her when I found out she had gotten a book deal! And this book is everything I could have wished for--funny, and full of outstanding images painted by word as well as by pen. Being an adult, obviously I would have liked it to go on for a few hundred more pages, but the ending certainly leaves room for a sequel. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did!
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Format: Hardcover
"Nurk" is a children's novel by artist/writer Ursula Vernon, a good little book punctuated by some of her own illustrations. It's the adventure of the little shrew Nurk, inspired by the writings of her swashbuckling grandmother Surka (and, a little, the threat of being brought up on mail fraud charges).

The book works best when Vernon's whimsy takes flight - the ominous Salmon Tree, the imperious hummingbird mailman and his warnings about misrepresentation and mail fraud, or the better of the scattered excerpts from Surka's diary. The illustrations are nice and fit the book well; it's too bad there aren't more of them than there are.

Most of the rest of the book is solid and occasionally funny; it's definitely a children's book, so the plot is straightforward and the message unsubtle and straightforward. A good read for kids with some great passages.

****
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