Bayberry Island

illus. by Henry Cole. 176p. (Brambleheart: Bk. 2). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. May 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062245519.
Gr 3–6—In this slim sequel to Brambleheart, Cole picks up the adventures of young chipmunk Twig, his rabbit friend Lily, and their nemesis-turned-accomplice Basil the weasel right where they left off, sailing out to sea in a found boat. On a mission to return lost baby dragon Char to his family, the young animals cheerfully leave everything they know behind, braving unknown creatures, high seas, and, finally, shipwreck with resourceful optimism. Exposition and character development are almost nonexistent, and readers who skipped Brambleheart may find themselves a little out of sorts. However, Cole's writing is actually more suited to straightforward adventure, and this sequel is a fun and fast-moving, if not deep, read. Detailed pencil drawings enhance and enrich the simple text.
VERDICT An enjoyable read-aloud or easy middle grade selection for readers of gentle nature fantasy.

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