The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman (review)
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Reviewed by
Dairman, Tara The Great Hibernation; illus. by Rebecca Green. Lamb, 2017 [272p]
Library ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-1786-5 $19.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-1785-8 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-1787-2 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-7

Every year on Founders’ Day, every twelve-and-older citizen of the tiny Scandinavian town of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord has to participate in the Tasting of the Sacred Bear Liver, lest they bring the wrath of the saints down on them. Twelve-year-old Jean Huddy doesn’t really believe in the wrath of the saints, but when every adult and teenager in town falls into a mysterious coma a few hours after the Tasting, she’s not sure if she’s responsible (she threw up her portion), or if something else entirely is going on. The mayor’s insufferable son Magnus takes charge, and while the other kids are having a blast without adult supervision, Jean is certain Magnus is up to something—especially when he gets the most vicious bullies in their grade to serve as his police force and intimidate anyone who questions him. Observant readers of this whimsical mystery will figure out the comas’ cause quickly, but they’ll want to read along to untangle the hows and the whys and find a cure along with Jean, her eight-year-old brother Micah, and their friends Axel (Micah’s fellow third-grader, who’s taken over driving his father’s snow plow), Katrin, Isara, and Rambo the sheep, who follows Micah everywhere. The stakes get unexpectedly high in the second half of the novel, with Jean and her friends desperately trying to wake the adults before Magnus can do real damage to the town and its residents. The fast-paced plot belies the sleepy small-town setting, and it’s refreshing to see a cast of characters who genuinely love their village and their families, whatever their quirks, instead of yearning to escape them. Final art not seen. [End Page 12]

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