Review Blog

Apr 18 2012

Paw prints in the snow by Sally Grindley

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Bloomsbury, 2012. ISBN 978 1 4088 1945 6
(Ages: 9+) Recommended. Adventure. Animals. Joe can't wait to set off with his family to Northern Russia where his mother, Binti, a renowned international vet is to help train some younger vets with tracking the Amur Tiger (lately called the Siberian Tiger). This endangered species takes hold of Joe's imagination and he dreams of finding one in the short time they will be there. He and his sister are invited to help train the sniffer dogs, and go on a hike into the mountains where they stay overnight in a log cabin. Next morning he is astonished to find tiger paw prints in the snow outside their cabin, and he and his father take many photographs. Once back in the small town, he goes off with his camera after seeing a small animal, but falls into an old building and must call out for help when he finds he cannot move.
Boris, the dog least likely to complete the training, finds Joe, but is also attracted by a strong smell he locates behind a door near the injured boy. Surprisingly, the rescuers realise that Boris has located a tiger's scent and behind the closed door they find a malnourished and injured tiger cub.
A neatly resolved but informative story, the adventure of Joe and his family in the Russian north is extraordinary. Throughout the story Grindley furnishes the reader with an amazing amount of detail about endangered animals and their habitat and why they are in need of help. She manages in a few words to convey the idea of the range of the environment of the tiger and the work of the international team of scientists in keeping it in the wild.
Written with the auspices of the London Zoo, this is an informative and fascinating story, one which readers will assimilate a lot of factual information about the Amur Tiger.
Fran Knight

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