Well, it's boiling outside here in Northern Virginia, but Melissa Walker's A Place for Delta transported me to the freezing land of Alaska, where eleven-year-old Joseph is staying with his Aunt Kate. She wants him to help her take care of an orphaned polar bear cub up at her research camp. A dream job for Joseph and lots of other kids. Who doesn't want to take care of a polar bear?
When Joseph gets there, he makes a friend in Eskimo girl Ada, who accompanies him on the mystery solving adventure of a lifetime. Everywhere the pair goes, another mystery turns up and the polar bear cub, Delta is in danger of being killed. They have to solve these mysteries in order to keep the cub (and possibly themselves) alive.
We go back and forth between Northern Georgia and the Appalachian Mountains and the Arctic Ocean up in Alaska while Joseph and Ada fight to keep Delta alive. Animal fans and mystery fans alike will be entertained by the story and adults will enjoy how clean the read is. Not only is the educational level rather high, but no cursing or objectionable material.
A glossary is included in the back, which was nice for some of the harder words, but I don't think a necessity. The "hard" words weren't bold or anything, so kids would be on their own finding them out anyways. I did appreciate the inclusion of additional resources and some websites of other children helping to save wildlife and our planet.
The writing of the story and the characters was very well done and resulted in an easy-to-read story with believable and likable characters. Kids will be able to relate to Joseph, as well as be excited by the adventures he is able to embark on and the mission he takes on. The mystery aspect wasn't all that hard to solve, however, for preteens, the complexity was spot-on. The message was wonderful and the personal journey for Joseph was touching, without being mushy.
I, unfortunately, was not a fan of the cover at all. If I were 12 and looking for something to read, black and gray sketch on the front would definitely not be attention grabbing. This is supposed to be the first in a series and I hope that the covers for the additional books are rethought.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
A Place for Delta
Whale Tale Press
Review copy received from publisher
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