In the vivid opening of this companion to Weatherill's Barkbelly (2006), small wooden babies hatch from eggs in a ship's hold and rapidly mature into capable youths. They are Ashenpeakersa hardy wooden race coveted by human slavers. Fierce Snowbone, an Ashenpeaker, rallies her cohorts (all of whom have narrowly escaped bondage) with ambitious, avenging visions of bringing slavery to an end. Readers initially may find it difficult to warm to prickly, rash Snowbone, but many will grow to appreciate her complexity, despite some wobbly plot developments (in particular, her plan to help slaves transform into trees, rendering them useless as laborers, doesn't feel as much like true freedom as one might have wished). This stand-alone adventure ultimately rests upon Weatherill's rollicking storytelling: As rooted in the oral tradition as Brian Jacques' Redwall novels, the epic battle drama comes with cozy interludes, and it's all broken into short, exciting chapters ideal for sharing aloud. As in Barkbelly, Peter Brown provides occasional, full-page drawings, not available in the galley. Mattson, Jennifer
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“Rollicking storytelling: As rooted in the oral tradition as Brian Jacques’ Redwall novels, the epic battle drama comes with cozy interludes, and it’s all broken into short, exciting chapters ideal for sharing aloud.”—Booklist
"Like Barkbelly’s, [Snowbone’s] story is expansive and episodic. . . . [Her] growth from a voracious baby to a thoughtful, inspiring leader is both satisfying and convincing.”—Kirkus Reviews