The Adventures of Team Pom: The Last Dodo
Flying Eye Books
It’s the summer break in Shadyside and Team Pom comprising Roberta, Ruby and Agnes have decided to spend it at the Natural History Museum where Ruby’s aunt Dr Octavia – a de-extinction biologist in training is currently working. There she is mighty proud to show the junior naturalist group a very precious specimen, a fossilised dodo foot. Who should be lurking in the background masquerading as cleaners though, but that ratty pair of the dastardly Steve’s minions, Mister Gilbert and Monsieur Georges. The next thing Dr Octavia et al know is that the dodo specimen has gone missing. Quickly Team Pom is on the trail but they are going to have to foil Steve’s wicked plan to turn all the humans to dodos if they’re to save the city.
If only they can find an ‘antidote’ and get the dodo-humans to consume it; otherwise it will be a case of “The dodos shall inherit the earth.”
With both inventiveness and action galore, this second off-the wall adventure, presented in Isabel Roxas’s whimsical graphic novel style, will delight those who met Team Pom in their previous adventure as well as winning them plenty of new fans.
War of the Wind
Neem Tree Press
On a remote Scottish island lives fourteen year old Max with his parents and baby sister. As the story opens Max is struggling to come to terms with his hearing loss that happened after an accident on board his dad’s fishing boat. Up until then Max had been a popular boy – one of the crowd – but now he’s become one of the zoomers, those with additional needs whom he and his friends had previously laughed at. In addition Max feels that his parents have replaced him with perfect baby sister Sally. He doesn’t understand why his Dad can’t be bothered to communicate with him in writing and is irritated that his mum always seems too tired to sign accurately.
Max’s village is not on the internet, nor indeed is a mobile phone network available. But then, setting aside the noise pollution in exchange for the promise of wi-fi for everyone and a power source, the islanders vote to allow huge wind turbines to be installed in the bay just off the coast.
We follow Max’s developing relationships with three children who have been ‘different’ all their lives: David, uses a wheelchair, Beanie, who has Down’s Syndrome and lives with her granny, and Erin, who was born deaf; his gradual acceptance into this community being somewhat bumpy. Almost as soon as the wind farm appears it’s evident that the animals and islanders are acting oddly. In a few short weeks they become irritable, bad tempered and unpredictable. The strange behaviour spreads to the children and acts of violence threaten to tear the community apart.
On account of his hearing loss, Max, unaffected by the changes, discovers that a sinister scientist, Doctor Ashwood, and the government are using the wind turbines to test a new sound wave weapon on the island population. Using their strengths, can Max and his three new friends find a way to shut down the wind farm’s signals and halt Doctor Ashwood’s plan before the experiment has tragic consequences?
Not only is this a gripping thriller but it’s also an empathetic portrayal of children with additional needs, showing how all too often, they can be underestimated.