The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe

Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House/. Jun. 2021. 192p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823447572.
Gr 4-6–Loah Londonderry’s mother is off on yet another expedition while Loah stays behind in their large old home with caretakers Miss Rinker and her brother Theo, who look after her while Dr. Londonderry is away. Loah’s mother may be an adventurer at heart, but timid Loah is a homebody, who counts the days her mother has been gone and tries to keep busy, as Miss Rinker always suggests. But this summer it seems everything is going wrong. Dr. Londonderry may be on the brink of a discovery, so her trip has been extended. Theo has a medical emergency, and Loah is left alone while Theo is in the hospital and Miss Rinker stays with him. And a man who says he is a housing inspector from the city keeps dropping by at unexpected moments. That would be a lot for anyone to handle, much less a shy homebody. Readers will cheer as Loah steps up and makes things happen, with the help of some unexpected friends. It’s a sweet, satisfying story full of heart—and fascinating facts about birds, climate change, and the environment. An author’s note explains that while Loah’s namesake, the loah bird, is fictional, other bird facts in the book are true, including the fact that climate change is affecting many birds’ habitats. Loah and most of the primary characters are cued as white.
VERDICT An excellent choice for fans of realistic fiction and readers interested in nature.

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