Operation Redwood

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Operation Redwood,
by S. Terrell French

Rating (Exceptional)

Three children team together to save an old-growth redwood forest from being cut down. The three characters are likeable and laugh-out loud funny, as they attempt stunts that include a fake press release and an indefinite protest and standoff in a treehouse. Along the way, the book educates the reader about the environment and the great redwoods on the California coast.

Appropriate for:
  1. Readers of all ages
  2. Readers who love nature and outdoors

 

Read This Book For These Reasons:
  1. Laugh-out funny dialogue and interactions between the main characters.
  2. Exciting plot, includes the main characters climbing up to a treehouse and staying there to stage a protest.
  3. The description of farm life at Robin's home (one of the main characters)
  4. How the main character, Julian Carter-Li, deals with racism against Asians by his father's side of the family.
  5. How the main character does the right thing, even when others are trying to attack and criticize what he is doing.

 

Things to Keep in Mind about this book:
  1. There are some slightly inappropriate words (like 'stupid' and 'moron').

 

Themes
  1. Never give up.
  2. Speak truth to power (the children stand up to a powerful corporation owned by one of the main character's uncle)
  3. Stand up for you think is right
  4. We should all care about the environment.

 

Main Characters

 

 

Meggie (Rating:  Exceptional)

I really loved this book because it is about a favorite topic of mine: nature. For once the plot was an exciting, but straightforward adventure story, unlike other recent books I have read which had Very Serious Settings like World War II, or the Berlin Olympics. The characters are brave and determined, and I felt myself rooting for them. Lastly, even though the theme of the book was environment and ecology, the book was very funny in parts - the interactions between the characters kept me entertained.

 

Mo (Rating:  Exceptional)

I loved this book, for many of the same reasons as Meggie. It is a page-turning story about three children trying to save an old-growth redwood forest. The main characters are well-written, and the dialogue between them is laugh-out-loud funny. I'd read this book again just for the snappy dialogue between the main characters. Also, unlike many other books I've read, it has both a boy and a girl portrayed in a positive light (some books have a boy main character, and the girls around him are annoying - or vice versa).

Exceptional books deserve multiple readings, and new layers of meaning emerge after each reading. This is such a book. At its surface, it's a well-written adventure story with a satisfying, yet believable ending. On top of it, the author adds nuggets of information about redwoods, their history and why they are so unique. I learnt a ton about redwoods from this story. Lastly, there's an under-current of how the main character deals with racism - his father married a Chinese-American, and his father's side of the family shuns him, partly for that reason. The main character deals with it well, even though it bothers him.

The author has been a forest ranger, a Harvard graduate, and a graduate of Berkeley law. Her love for redwoods and ecology shines through in this book.

This is an excellent book, I'll be reading it again.

 

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