Title: Carol and Boscobel by Jonathan Stefonek
Genre: Youth adventure/animal adventure
Date Published: October 2022 Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing
Editor: Kerry Lechner
Number of Pages: 229
Reviewed by: Laura Anne Bird
Review of Carol and Boscobel by Laura Anne Bird
“Not all of us can be properly ‘owned.’ Can’t I pick a human for a change?”
So asks Carol, a scrappy little cat who kicks off the hijinks in Jonathan Stefonek’s debut novel for middle graders.
Carol, her new frenemy Boscobel, and a crew of wily raccoons embark on a zany adventure in search of food and water, but readers quickly grasp that their quest is really about finding a home and sense of belonging.
“That’s a cat thing, isn’t it?” a dog named Sprocket quips to Carol early in the book. I don’t know much about cats myself, but it’s clear that Stefonek deeply loves them. With the exception of a few unnecessary swear words, his story is a great read for kids ages eight to twelve with a similar taste in pets.
The downside of Carol and Boscobel is the occasionally tedious play-by-play of the animals’ physical movements. These sections are too detailed, and they tend to drag down the narrative. The upside is that Stefonek playfully nudges children to see things from different perspectives, which leads to greater empathy and compassion—not just for the characters in the book, but for living creatures everywhere.
A Milwaukee native, Laura Anne Bird graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in English. She lives in Madison with her husband, three teenagers, and dog. When she’s not reading, writing, or reviewing books, she loves to exercise and explore the outdoors. Crossing the Pressure Line is her first novel.
Find out more at: https://www.laurabirdbooks.com/
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