HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Frightened Fawn: Animal Emergency #8
Author: Emily Costello
Illustrator: Larry Day
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2000
Related website: http://www.harperchildrens.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 – 12
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Costello, Emily. Frightened Fawn: Animal Emergency #8 (published in 2000 by Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10019). Stella Sullivan lives in Gateway, MT, with her dad Jack, mom Norma, and older sister Cora. Stella loves to help the animals that turn up at her Aunt Anya’s veterinary clinic. It’s almost Halloween, and Anya has some strange cases. A Dalmatian gets carbon monoxide poisoning because it was left in a running truck. A giant reticulated python has a burn from a heat lamp. A great horned owl somehow gets its beak damaged. A frightened black cat hides in the motor of Norma’s car. A hairless pet rat has been painted green some malicious person. A friend’s puppy becomes sick by accidentally eating a lot of chocolate Halloween candy. And there are run-ins with a hairy tarantula in the school classroom and a bat at a friend’s bed and breakfast.
Halloween also marks the beginning of hunting season which Stella views as a frightening time for wild woodland animals. Scarier still, when Stella tells her aunt about a seemingly sick fawn that she and her friend Jared see while on a hike in the woods, Anya won’t help. Has Stella’s beloved aunt stopped caring about wild creatures? Can Stella and Jared do anything on their own to help the frightened fawn? Back around 2002 or 2003, both our older son Mark, when he was about twelve, and my wife Karen read Lonely Lamb, Animal Emergency #10 and said that it was good. I also read and reviewed it. Other books in the “Animal Emergency” series include Abandoned Puppy (#1, 1999); Ducks in Danger (#2, 1999); Bad Luck Lion (#3, 1999); Runaway Wolf Pups (#4, 1999); Rabbit Rescue (#5, 2000); Lost Kitten (#6, 2000); Hit-and-Run Retriever (#7, 2000); and Pony In Trouble (#9, 2000). Frightened Fawn is an all-right story which is somewhat episodic rather than having a tightly knit plot.
Stella is very anti-hunting, whereas Aunt Anya, who used to feel the same way, has changed her thinking somewhat, telling Stella, “Lots of people I like hunt. Lots of people I respect.” Stella has a rather bad attitude about the subject for a while, but she eventually learns from Anya that people who disagree with her aren’t necessarily bad people and that there are some things which we just can’t change so there’s no use getting into arguments everywhere we go. In the back there is a section which contains information about the history of hunting along with arguments for and against it so that the reader can make up his or her own mind about it. I am not a hunter, but I certainly agree with the observation, “Each American should have the right to make his or her own free choice to hunt or not. Even if you oppose hunting, you should let other people make their own decisions.”