January 5, 2012

Noah Zarc, sci-fi for reluctant readers

Title and author: Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease
Date: August 13, 2011
Publisher: Walking Stick Books
ISBN: 9780615524993
Source: Author

Summary (from Goodreads):

Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. However, the twelve-year-old time traveler soon learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is abducted and taken to thirty-first century Mars; his dad becomes stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying a newly habitable, post-apocalyptic Earth.

Traveling through time in the family’s immense spaceship, Noah, a paraplegic from birth, must somehow care for the thousands of animals on board, while finding a way to rescue his parents. Along the way, he discovers his mother and father aren’t who he thought they were, and there is strength inside him he didn’t know he had.

My thoughts:

The plot of this novel is nicely developed with a pacing that will appeal to its core audience – tween boys. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Noah. With the help of his brother Hamilton and sister Sam, Noah will take embark on a vital mission: to rescue their parents. Young readers will find themselves glued to the pages as Noah and his siblings begin the journey to save their father from the Ice Age and to rescue their kidnapped mother.

The strength of this novel lies with its main character, Noah. He is a paraplegic who never lets this hold him back. Readers will fall in love with his spirit, and many will find elements of themselves in him. As a matter of fact, young readers can learn a lot from his strength and determination. And what would a great story be without a trusty sidekick – his dog Obadiah.

While I am not a huge fan of sci-fi novels, I did enjoy this one. The author makes a strong showing, especially choosing to tell the story from Noah’s point of view. There are many messages presented in this novel – messages from not allowing disability to hold one back to our responsibility for protecting, not destroying, our planet to showing respect to all living things (in this case, animals). This modern re-telling of Noah’s Ark serves as a cautionary tale in a mild way.

I do have one suggestion – create a starting chapter that lures readers into the world of Noah instead of thrusting us into a world we know nothing about. This was the greatest weakness; there were too many things to try to figure out in that one chapter. But for many young readers, an opening like this might be more appealing.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this great review. I'm glad you liked it, but more importantly I'm glad you think kids will like it, especially reluctant readers. That's every children's author's goal, I think.


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