This week, as a follow up to the previous post about magical animals, we have a post about regular ol’ animals. Except the one about a girl whose brain is put into a chimpanzee. That’s not necessarily a regular ol’ animal. But otherwise we’re featuring dogs, chimps and whales, just your usual backyard pets…

Syndetics book coverHalf brother / by Kenneth Oppel.
“Thirteen-year-old Ben Tomlin’s whole world is changing. His parents, research scientists, have moved them across Canada to be with their newest subject, Zan. Intending to prove that chimpanzees are capable of intelligent thought and communication, the Tomlins teach the baby chimp sign language and incorporate him into their daily lives. Thrust into a new school and, essentially, a new family, Ben is caught in a whirl of new emotions, especially when the lovely Jennifer comes onto the scene. Though Zan learns sign language relatively well, his animal instincts gradually become more pronounced and Ben and his parents must make some important decisions about the chimp’s future.” (School Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverJamrach’s menagerie : a novel / by Carol Birch.
Jamrach’s Menagerie tells the story of a nineteenth-century street urchin named Jaffy Brown. Following an incident with an escaped tiger, Jaffy goes to work for Mr. Charles Jamrach, the famed importer of exotic animals, alongside Tim, a good but sometimes spitefully competitive boy. Mr. Jamrach recruits the two boys to capture a fabled dragon during the course of a three-year whaling expedi­tion. They even succeed in catching the reptilian beast. But when the ship’s whaling venture falls short of expecta­tions, the crew begins to regard the dragon—seething with feral power in its cage—as bad luck, a feeling that is cruelly reinforced when a violent storm sinks the ship. Drifting across an increasingly hallucinatory ocean, the sur­vivors, including Jaffy and Tim, are forced to confront their own place in the animal kingdom. ” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWolves, boys, & other things that might kill me / Kristen Chandler.
“The only daughter of a fishing and wildlife guide, KJ Carson can hold her own on the water or in the mountains near her hometown outside Yellowstone National Park. But when she meets the shaggy-haired, intensely appealing Virgil, KJ loses all self-possession. And she’s not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that they’re assigned to work together on a school newspaper article about the famous wolves of Yellowstone. As KJ spends time with Virgil, she also spends more time getting to know a part of her world that she always took for granted… and she begins to see herself and her town in a whole new light.” (Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverLost dogs / Garrett Carr.
“Ewan is back in the city for his father’s trial, while May has come to join a school for girls with special talents. Andrew wants only to keep them all out of trouble. But trouble is sure to find them. Crates of genetically engineered dogs are stacked down by the docks. They rattle their containers and smell of death. Vicious and unstoppable, they will soon be exported to fight in foreign wars. Unless someone releases them first.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThreatened / Eliot Schrefer.
“Luc lives with other young orphan boys under the roof of Monsieur Tatagani, an unscrupulous man who exploits his charges. Professor Abdul Mohammad, a prosperous-looking Arab, meets Luc and hires him as his assistant, taking him deep into the jungle to study chimpanzees. Luc discovers he has an interest and aptitude for the work, and he thrives under Prof’s tutelage. All too soon, though, Prof disappears under mysterious circumstances, and Luc must survive on his own. With only Prof’s tiny pet vervet for company, Luc watches and learns from the chimps.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverThe boy with the tiger’s heart / Linda Coggin.
“The wild is danger, the wild is fierce, the wild is freedom. Raised by dogs and feared by humans, Nona, suspected of murdering her guardian, must run from the authorities with the only poeple she can trust: a frightened boy called Caius, a mixed-up boy called Jay – and a bear by the name of Abel Dancer.” (Back cover)


Syndetics book coverEdge of nowhere / John Smelcer.
“Seth, an overweight teenager who is grieving over his mother’s death is washed overboard his father’s fishing boat during a torrential storm. He and his dog Tucker must make their way home from island to island along the Alaskan coast, and Seth gains new insights into himself, even as his father searches desperately for him. Based on true events, interwoven with Alutiiq myths.” (Syndetics summary)


Syndetics book coverSinging home the whale / Mandy Hager.
“Will Jackson is a city boy reluctantly staying with his uncle in small town New Zealand while he struggles to recover from a brutal attack and the aftermath of a humiliating Youtube clip gone viral. Will discovers an orphaned orca and they form a deep bond through music, but Will must rally to protect it from hostile locals, worried about the whale’s effect on the town’s salmon farms.” (Syndetics summary)


Syndetics book coverEva / Peter Dickinson.
“Following a terrible car crash, Eva, 14, awakens from a strange dream and finds herself in a hospital bed. Medical science, in this book’s future setting, has allowed doctors to pull her functioning brain from her crushed body and put it into the able body of a chimpanzee. With the aid of a voice synthesizer, she communicates with others and adjusts to her new body; because her father is a scientist who has always worked among the chimps (who have been crowded by the massive human population out of any semblance of a natural world, and into iron and steel jungles), Eva is comfortable with her new self. She takes on the issue of animal rights, setting up (with the help of others, of course) an elaborate scheme to release chimps back into the last of the wild.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe amazing Maurice and his educated rodents / Terry Pratchett.
“It’s time for the rats to tell their side of the Pied Piper story. Think rats can’t talk? These rats can, and not only that, they also read, disarm mousetraps, and concoct schemes with a genius cat known as the Amazing Maurice.” (Syndetics summary)