Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Tina Nolan
Publisher: Little Tiger Press
Ella and her family run the Animal Magic Rescue Center that takes in all sorts of animals in need, including a stubborn and ornery goat named Gordon. When young Ella goes to check the gate before closing the rescue center for the night, she hears a faint animal cry from the forest. She finds an injured fox kit who they take back to the rescue center and nurse back to health. As the fox, named Copper, is recovering, Ella falls in love with him even after the warning from her mother that he is a wild animal. Ella and her brother work hard to find homes for the other animals, including one for Gordon the goat, but Ella is having a hard time with the reality of releasing Copper back into the wild. The family comes up with a plan to track the fox kit to make sure he is okay, but panic strikes when the tracker’s transmission stops after shortly being released into the wild. Ella and her brother go looking for the kit and see that he has reconnected with his family. The transmission had stopped because he was underground in the fox den.
This book is an excellent read for children because of the descriptive word choice used by the author to create vivid mental pictures. The few black and white illustrations help guide younger readers, but still leave a lot up to the imagination for more confident readers. This is also a great book for learning about the three major types of conflict. The story explores the character-vs.-character conflict between Ella and her brother and between the Animal Magic Rescue Center and the neighbors. A character-vs.-self conflict occurs in Ella as her heart and head disagree on what to do about Copper. And the character-vs.-nature conflict is explored as the young fox kit struggles to survive in the wild. Through the plethora of descriptive adjectives and the story line, young readers learn what it's really like to work in an animal rescue center: the reality of the work involved, the abandoned and injured animals, and the need to release wild animals back into their natural habitat.