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Legend Keepers: The Chosen One by Bruce Smith
The Chosen One: An exciting and fast-paced chapter book for middle grade animal, nature, and fantasy buffs (Legend Keepers 1) by Bruce Smith
In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven. Communication between a mountain goat and raven might seem strange. But what becomes more unreachable is Buddy’s realization that she alone can save a band of goats from the great danger foretold in an ancient legend. This brilliant tale with a clever mix of discovery will spark the intellectual curiosity of every reader.
The Chosen One by Bruce Smith is a wonderful start to his new Legend Keepers series. Part adventure story, part fable, and part nature study, this touching and engaging tale will keep the reader glued to the pages and anxious to read the next book in the series. It’s filled with fascinating characters and themes that will resonate with young readers.
From the time she is born, it’s apparent that Buddy is a most unusual mountain goat. Even at a few days old, she’s more curious and nimble than the average kid. This is fortunate because Buddy is suddenly thrust into an unforeseen situation, leaving her to find her herd on her own or die. Along the way, Buddy discovers that she has the unique talent of being able to talk to animals other than mountain goats, leading to some unlikely friendships, including with a mysterious raven named Roark. Once Buddy finds her band, she works hard to find her place in the group, even though it’s pretty clear to everyone that she’s different. Despite being bullied by a young male in the group, Buddy is accepted by the other goats, begins to make useful contributions to her band, and slowly begins to understand her role. She sees her herd having difficulties finding food, safe shelter, and fewer babies to increase the herd’s size. One day, Roark comes to her and tells her that she’s to be the next goat-Keeper or guardian of the ancient legends of her people. What follows is a remarkable journey, as Buddy, with her adopted mother Oreo, leaves the safety of her home to find a place where her herd will have a safe, thriving future.
Author, Bruce Smith deftly builds a diverse yet seamless story as he incorporates situations that will feel familiar to this age group of readers. He touches on what it means to be a family, and shows a character that grows as she struggles to discover her purpose in life and her place in her “tribe”. In Buddy, the reader sees an adolescent dealing with difficult relationships and bullying, healing after a tragedy, and developing empathy and courage as she sees her family struggle. Bruce Smith has also added a wealth of factual information about the animal characters, the terrain, and how humans are impacting the environment. All of this is layered into a story that captures the imagination without being overt or preachy.
This would be a perfect book for parents and children to read and discuss together. Young readers with a fascination for nature and the environment will fall right in this story, but the style of the story will make it enjoyable for any reader. The smooth writing style, fast pace, and relatable themes will make an easy and meaningful read. Thoroughly enjoyable, Kids Lit Book Café highly recommends this book!
“In a time in which heroes are needed more than ever, Bruce Smith has now given us Buddy. Though she is small, Buddy shows us what it means to have a big heart, even in the face of daunting obstacles.”
––Kathi Appelt, NYT bestselling author of Newbery Honor and National Book Finalist, The Underneath
“Legend Keepers is a charming animal centric adventure sure to delight readers with a heart for the wilderness.”
––Rosanne Parry, NYT bestselling author of A Wulf Called Wander
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