I love that the world's new outlook on becoming more environmentally friendly has finally started spilling over into the kid's lit realm. We can talk to children all day long about recycling, energy use, and saving trees, but I think it's when they see other kids (or read about them!) participating in those activities that the reality of it becomes clear. An author does have to tread carefully when writing about any type of "issue," this one absolutely being conservationism, but French does a very nice job at blending fact and fiction.
Operation Redwood, writen by S. Terrell French bridges the gap between eco-friendly discussion and the middle grade fiction novel. Our main character is Julian, a very likable 12 year old, stuck living at his horrible (though rich) Aunt and Uncle's house while his mother is roaming around China on a photography expedition. He intercepts an email meant for his Uncle, from a very angry girl, insisting that redwood trees that are hundreds of years old should certainly not be cut down for money. Intrigued, Julian begins corresponding back and forth with this girl, ultimately concocting and participating in a plan to save her beloved redwood trees.
The book has a nice balance of nature and friendship, as well as some family drama and a bit of actual facts on redwood trees, which was a nice addition. The characters are believable, though their scheming may be a bit far-fetched, the inspiration for helping the planet is most definitely there.
A great choice for library or home shelves.
S. Terrell French