Kid Konnection: Don’t Feed the Boy
Whit lives in the Meadowbrook Zoo with his Zoo Director mother and Elephant Keeper father. The zoo is not only his home, it’s his world. It’s not his passion, though, and he longs for a different life. Whit’s not allowed to leave the zoo and is homeschooled by a tutor, Ms. Connie. When Ms. Connie tells Whit to complete a field study of one animal and how the current drought might affect it, Whit chooses Stella, a young girl who comes to the zoo daily and draws birds.
Whit and Stella form a sort of friendship and Whit even sneaks off of zoo property to visit her home. He’s shocked by what he sees and discovers that she dreams of a different life too. As their friendship deepens, Stella asks Whit to help her in a way that could be dangerous and, together, they come up with a plan. Things don’t turn out the way they planned, but it changes both of their lives in positive ways.
Don’t Feed the Boy by Irene Latham is a wonderful middle grade book about families, friendship, and finding your strength. It shows readers that what’s ideal for one person may not be right for another. It also helps them realize that other people’s lives are often not what they appear to be.
Both Whit and Stella are fabulous characters – they need each other for different reasons. Their friendship means a lot and they’re able to teach each other some important lessons. They both grow and become stronger through the course of the book.
The plot of Don’t Feed the Boy is great too. There are several unexpected twists and the addition of the animals adds a fun element to the story. I was engaged throughout and think middle grade readers will be as well. I also loved that the ending surprised me.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fabulous drawings by Stephanie Graegin. There are at least a dozen of her beautiful pencil drawings spaced throughout the book and they add a wonderful visual element to the book. I found the illustrations and the story to be delightful and I think young readers will as well.
For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.