The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli is a middle grade novel which is currently scheduled for release on February 9 2016. Although, with a little research I have found that it was previously published by Chicken House back in 2013.
George is looking for a job in order to raise money for a new bike, so when he sees a help wanted ad for Wormestall Farm, he goes for it. Before long, he's embroiled in a madcap adventure involving creatures considered extinct and or mythological. He has gained a almost-friend with problems of her own and her stepmother, who just happens to be a maniacal taxidermist who wants the animals of Wormestall Farm in her own private collection.
The Extincts is fast paced and fun. George is a character with an odd and imperfect home life, but one that allows him freedom and the knowledge that he is loved. Prudence's family is much less healthy. I liked the characters that inhabit Wormestall Farm, as well as those that tend to the creatures. The combination of oddities and actual learning about extinct and mythological animals is entertaining and interesting. I think the book has a nice balance of action with character development and world building. Some books fall too heavy in one area or another, but this seemed to have a nearly perfect balance. The big bad, Prudence's stepmother, is over the top crazy while the good guys are just wacky and friendly enough to find the right solutions, sometimes by accident. the addition of information about the creatures included at the end of the book is an extra special treat. I would highly recommend this read to middle graders that like animals, monsters, great characters, or high action. The illustrations will even grab the attention of some of the more reluctant readers. I hope that there are more books to come, since more could be done with the characters and the collected creatures.
The Extincts is a exciting and entertaining read for the middle grade set. George and Prudence are creative characters that will draw in readers and have them looking for more. Animal and monster lovers alike will get a great deal of enjoyment from this adventure.