Reviews for Wolf Tree

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 April

Gr 5-8--Part American tall tale and part steampunk, John Claude Bemis's sequel (2010) to The Nine-Pound Hammer (2009, both Random; Listening Library, 2009) begins with a party for Nel's birthday. The festivities are cut short when a stranger appears with a horrible story. There is a force known as the Darkness that is spreading a terrible disease. People are turning gray and bleeding oil before they die. At various intervals, members of Nel's medicine show set out to discover the cause of the illness and to figure out a way to stop it from spreading. Meanwhile, Conker, John Henry's son, has awakened from near death and he and the half-siren Jolie set out to restore the handle of his father's nine-pound hammer. Their quests will all culminate with the search for the mythical Wolf Tree, which is guarded by the half-wolf/half-human rougarou. The Gog has not been fully destroyed and remaking the hammer with wood from the Wolf Tree is the key to his ultimate destruction. John H. Mayer's voice is too old for this story and not nuanced enough for such a varied cast of characters. The story switches frequently between pairs of characters, which doesn't translate well to audio, and lovely musical interludes don't always fit the tone of the chapters they introduce. Purchase only where the first book is popular.--Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA

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