by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den, by Aimée Carter
NYC, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, February 2016, hardcover $16.99 (307 pages), Kindle $6.99.
Besides furry fiction, there is a category of children’s fantasy about human children learning that they can talk with animals, and that the animals have civilizations of their own. The best of these include the Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis, in which human children discover a large fantasy dimension. Average examples include the recent Secrets of Bearhaven, Book One, by K. E. Rocha, where 11-year-old Spencer Plain learns that his parents can talk with bears and they have helped the bears establish a secret bear society hidden within our own. And then there is Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den, by Aimée Carter.
Simon is 12 years old and miserable. He’s picked upon by school bullies and he has no friends. He shares a cramped NYC apartment with his scarred Uncle Darryl. Nobody will tell him why Uncle Darryl is horribly scarred, or why his father is dead, or why his mother has been gone for a year on a zoological assignment – she sends him frequent “I love you” postcards from all over the country that don’t really tell him anything.
Or why he can suddenly talk with animals. He doesn’t tell anyone about this because Uncle Darryl apparently hates animals, even though a mouse he names Felix has become his best friend, and he could prove that he can talk with pigeons easily enough.
Then a one-eyed golden eagle tells him he’s in terrible danger, and his mother suddenly reappears, and Simon discovers that his mother and Uncle Darryl have been hiding the secret that they can not only talk with animals, too, but can change into them, but there’s no time to explain anything because they have to escape RIGHT NOW from an army of rats who want to kill them, and he’s really a hidden prince of all birds, but not the crown prince because he has an older twin brother that nobody told him about, and …