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Operation Redwood

by S. Terrell French


Operation Redwood†by author S. Terrell French is wonderful, a trite word I know, but her book is truly wonder full. With an underlying premise that estrangements can be mended, whatís broken can be fixed, and philosophical differences can be bridged, French crafts an engaging environment-centric coming-of-age-story for tweens that succeeds on all fronts.

Over the summer school break, twelve-year-old Julian Carter-Li is left in the care of his cold-hearted, supercilious uncle and aunt, Sibley and Daphne Carter, while his free-spirited photographer mom pursues a project in China. (Julianís dad died in a motorcycle accident five years ago.) Then, he meets Robin via an intercepted email and comes to learn that the ancient redwoods on the land next door to her familyís land are scheduled to be logged by IPX Corporation—and Uncle Sibley is CEO of IPX. Operation Redwood is launched.

The plot is well written, with humor, and the characters are well-drawn, distinct, and—except for grumpy ole Uncle Sibley and mean Aunt Daphne—appealing. (And Sibley and Daphne are great antagonists.) Incorporating Chinese-American and Latino characters provides refreshing diversity. The narration captures the childrenís excitement at being part of something greater than themselves. The vocabulary is appropriate, even tossing in a word now and then that some readers might have to reach for, which all good books should do.

Operation Redwood†is not preachy, and is quite inspiring. This book would be an excellent choice for school and public library reading programs, and classroom discussion, as well as any parent wanting to instill environmental principles in the future stewards of this planet.

Author S. Terrell French is an environmental lawyer, and lives with her husband and three children in San Francisco, California.

The Book

Amulet Books, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York
May 1, 2009
Hardcover, from an uncorrected proof
0810983540 / 978-0-8109-8354-0
Tweener Fiction / Environmental / ages 9-12
More at
NOTE: The final version of the book will be printed on recycled paper.

The Reviewer

Deb Kincaid
Reviewed 2009
© 2009