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Secrets of Bearhaven (Bearhaven #1) Hardcover – January 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Fans of Erin Hunter's "Seekers" series (HarperCollins) and Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, 2002) looking for a new series will enjoy this animal adventure novel. Spencer's parents are bear activists; they are constantly working to save the creatures from human-made and environmental danger. Spencer doesn't know how important the bears are until his father is kidnapped. To keep Spencer safe, his uncle takes him out of school and rushes him to a secret sanctuary in the woods called Bearhaven, a place complete with its own set of politics. The bears even have a special device that translates "bear speech" into English. Once Spencer arrives, a plan to rescue his father is formed. The action reaches an exciting climax with this daring rescue attempt, which, in conjunction with short chapters and the fast-paced plot, will have readers breathlessly turning pages. Although talking animal books are far from unusual, Rocha adds a unique spin to the genre in the creation of the fantastical Bearhaven. The ending sets up for a sequel. VERDICT A solid purchase for fans of animal adventure stories and eco-mysteries, this work will also appeal to reluctant readers.—Patrick Tierney, Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School, Providence, RI
Praise for Bearhaven:
"Rocha adds a unique spin to the genre in the creation of the fantastical Bearhaven. A solid purchase for fans of animal adventure stories and eco-mysteries, this work will also appeal to reluctant readers." -School Library Journal
"[T]his is a fun, exciting series start with creepy villains and a boy hero who outthinks and outwits the adults, conquering his fears in the process."- Booklist
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Top Customer Reviews
If it weren't for this book, he would not have learned to use his imagination in reading as he does. As a result, he is rapidly blossoming and becoming increasingly enthused with reading and easily completing his two mandatory books a week and often more.
We both highly recommend not only this book, but the series. The fourth will come out this year, and I will preorder it for him when available.
Spencer Plain is abruptly taken from school by his uncle Mark Spencer. His uncle tells him his parents have been kidnapped, and he needs to go to a safe place. Spencer's parents are involved with a bear sanctuary, Bearhaven, and this is where Spencer will stay until his parents returns. We learn that this bear sanctuary is indeed a special place. Spencer becomes friends with Kate,a young cub bear. This sounds strange, but in this special place, the Bears speak. They have a translator from English to their language and vice versa. As Spencer becomes acclimated, he learns a lot about bears, and the sometimes sinister events that take place.
The author, K.E. Rocha, opens the world of bears and their environments for all readers. Many of us are familiar with ape sanctuaries,and, now, we realize the need for bears to have a safe place. As part of the bear group, along with Kate, we learn how bears live and talk, and what their plans are to try and rescue a lost bear and Spencer's parents. This is so well written that I found myself entranced within the world of bears. My grandson loved this book, and is looking forward to the next book in the series, there must be a next book, to help us solve the mysteries of this first book.
Recommended. prisrob 11-21-15
With the exception of Evarita, his parents’ assistant, Spencer Plain is often alone. Because they witnessed the mistreatment of three bear siblings - their college’s mascots, his parents are activists who advocate for bears. Understanding his parents’ motivation, Spencer cannot help but feel he too has a responsibility to protect bears. “…In our family, bears are at the center of everything …They’re in my blood …”
Because his parents are missing – “…out of communication …” according to his uncle Mark Spencer – Spencer must go to a safe spot. That spot is Bearhaven, a sanctuary of sorts, inhabited by numerous rescued bears and some bears that were born in Bearhaven. The Weaver family takes Spencer into their home where he learns about the hierarchy of the Bearhaven community, its governing council, and the Bear Guard. Kate Weaver, a young female bear, befriends Spencer and begins teaching him Rescue Ragayo, a basic form of the language bears use to communicate.
Spencer, his uncle, Evarita and the bears set out on a mission to rescue RoRo, a female bear, and her two cubs from Jay Grady, a carnival operator who used the bears in bear baying. Discovery of the involvement of Margo and Ivan Lalicki, his parents’ long-time opponents, creates more urgency as Spencer seeks to find his mother and father. The situation becomes even more dangerous when Spencer inadvertently learns of a sinister man Pam who controls bears through a microchip technology and is captured by Margo Lalicki. K. E. Rocha concludes “Secrets of Bearhaven” without resolving Spencer’s quest to find his parents and opens the door for the second novel of the series.
“Secrets of Bearhaven” is not a difficult book to read. The characters are interesting; the bears are very appealing and display a wider range of personalities than do the human characters. The final third of the book is the most exciting portion of this novel and is the reason I rated the book as a five-star read. However, the majority of the book provided background to the story, introduced various characters, and set up the scenario for the series. Had the entire book moved at the pace of the first two-thirds, I would have rated this as a four-star read.
A plot like this will fire a reader's imagination. This is the kind of book which will encourage reluctant readers to get involved in an exciting adventure. Certainly, this is an easy book for those in the targeted age group to read and understand.
While this is fantasy, there is a lot of true bear lore which is to be learned by reading this.
It's unfortunate that this book won't be released until early January of next year because it would make a marvelous Christmas gift. It still of course would be a good birthday gift for those in the age group nearing a birthday. I sure do recommend this for animal loving kids as an exciting and imaginative adventure which looks as if it will be the first of a series. Get it for your youngster. P.S., you just might enjoy reading it yourself if you're an animal lover.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There's plenty of suspense and adventure (without it being overly violent...Read more