Rocha, K.E. Secrets of Bearhaven. Scholastic Press 2016 244p $14.99 ISBN 978-0-545-81303-7 elem/ms Fantasy VG
Spencer’s parents have disappeared while they were on a mission to rescue abused bears. His uncle whisks him away to safety in Bearhaven, a bear town where bears live an almost human existence, including being able to communicate with humans. Grades 5-7. Spencer has always known his parents researched bears and are activists who rescue bears from abusive situations. When his uncle comes to whisk him away after his parents have failed to keep in contact, Spencer realizes his parents are bear superheroes, having established the secret community of Bearhaven where rescued bears can live their lives in comfort and safety. Bears can even communicate with humans through technology called Bear-Com. With the assistance of Kate, a rambunctious, consistently perky cub, Spencer learns the skills of Bear Guards, who patrol the grounds and go along on rescue missions. Spencer even learns the guttural sounds of specific bear terminology such as the words for “friend”, “go”, “hurry”, and “attack”. Spencer is determined to go along on a rescue mission for RoRo and her cubs, who are being used in bear baying events--think a cock fight, but more unfair to the bears, as their teeth and claws are filed down while the dogs that attack only suffer from starvation. The brutal scene in the arena may not be appropriate for young readers. That scene, related by Spencer, will linger for a long time. As Spencer uncovers an even deeper abuse/kidnapping plot, he does manage to rescue RoRo and her cubs, only to have to leave his mother and father behind. There is sure to be a sequel about the rescue of Mom and Dad. Full of action.
Summary: Spencer’s parents have disappeared while they were on a mission to rescue abused bears. His uncle whisks him away to safety in Bearhaven, a bear town where bears live an almost human existence, including being able to communicate with humans. Grades 5-7.
Animal abuse-Fiction, Fantasy --Lois McNicol