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Seekers #6: Spirits in the Stars

Review

Seekers #6: Spirits in the Stars

Kallik is a young polar bear living in the frigid north with her mom and brother. She knows she has a lot to learn before she will be able to survive on her own. However, she isn't too worried as long as she has her mom to keep her safe and fed. But then comes the accident. Suddenly on her own, Kallik struggles to survive.

Lusa is a young black bear who has lived her entire life in a zoo. She hasn't had too many worries, as the fences keep her safe from predators, and the zoo keepers feed her every day. And then she makes a promise to a dying friend, a risky promise that requires her to escape the zoo fences. She cleverly manages to do just that. Suddenly on her own, Lusa struggles to survive.

Toklo is a young grizzly bear living near the mountains with his mom and sickly brother. When his brother dies, his mom is so overcome with grief, she chases Toklo away from her. Suddenly on his own, Toklo struggles to survive.

Ujurak is another young brown bear with a few unique talents, including the ability to change shape into other animals. He also receives dreams and can read signs from the spirits. On his own, Ujurak struggles to survive.

These four young bear cubs stumble into each other's lives and manage to form a unique family all their own. They rely on one another for survival and love as they struggle to complete their quest --- a search for a new home. But they encounter many obstacles and dangers in their path, including all of the sicknesses the wild is suffering, mostly from the hands of humans.

In this sixth installment, Kallik, Lusa, Toklo and Ujurak finally touch paw on land again, though it's buried beneath lots of ice and snow. Still, Lusa is excited to dig up some plant material to eat. But finding enough to consume is still a challenge. And adding to their list of worries, none of them have seen any signs from their spirit guides. Have the spirits abandoned them?

While exploring the new island, they encounter a colony of sick polar bears. Some aren't very happy about the strangers invading their space, but their leader is very curious about finding a group of different kinds of bears living together and is also willing to listen to Lusa's theories on why the bears are sick. Lusa tells them about a human's industrial pipe leaking nasty goo into the oceans, poisoning the fish and seals that the polar bears eat.

As they try to figure out a way to help the island's bears, Kallik stumbles upon an orphan polar bear. She can't leave the cub there to die, so she scoops him up and names him Kissimi. Kallik quickly bonds with Kissimi and refuses to return him to his remaining family. She believes she can care for him better than the sick polar bears ever could. Despite disagreeing with her, Lusa, Toklo and Ujurak try to support Kallik's decision, but worry about the potentially deadly consequences, especially if the polar bear community finds out what they've done.

Even though they haven't seen any signs from the spirits lately, Ujurak feels the end of their journey is near. He's even more sure when he changes into human form to talk with a special human who can also change form (in his case, into a raven). And then they discover a hidden cave covered with drawings; what they see on the walls shocks them, but also inspires them to attempt an insanely dangerous plan to save the island. They're determined to do whatever they can to help, even when the choices become unbearably painful.

Erin Hunter continually delivers an exciting plot with lots of action and suspense, and her characters are so alive, vibrant and exploding with personality (or should it be ‘bear-onality'?). She has discovered a way to share her love of nature with her audience that's both entertaining and educational. Readers are immersed in the bears' world, right next to the leaking oil pipes, the dying seals, the shrinking habitats, the polluted air and water, where all of this destruction and death is immediately visible. They may also feel inspired by the bears and confident that they too can do something to help. Hunter slips in other important messages; for example, even though some bears' fur color varies and they come from different backgrounds, they can learn to work and play together, and even become the best of friends.

Here's hoping that lucky #7 lands in stores as quickly as possible.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on February 8, 2011

Seekers #6: Spirits in the Stars
by Erin Hunter

  • Publication Date: February 8, 2011
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060871407
  • ISBN-13: 9780060871406