Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Halam, Ann.
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2002.
ISBN 0385900562
(2 booktalks)
Booktalk #1

Semi was certain that nothing could ever be more horrific than what she (and Miranda and Arnie) had just lived through. But she is wrong.

Semi, Miranda, and Arnie - they probably wouldn't have become friends under normal circumstances. But, then again, these weren't exactly normal circumstances! They were 3 of 37 British teens about to have the biggest adventure of their lives - three weeks deep in the rain forests of Ecuador and the Galapagos islands.

Semi was seated next to Miranda on the flight. Miranda - self-assured, outgoing - a natural leader - everything Semi was not. And Arnie? - well, he was a big, chunky pale boy, sitting by himself - he just glared at Semi when she sat near him. Aloof, that describes him. Not exactly the stuff friendships are made of.

Then, halfway through the flight, something goes very, very wrong. There was a loud bang and the plane starts lurching all over the place. Confusion - no one really knows what happens next - except that the plane suddenly began a steep nose-dive and then, just before it hits the sea, the pilot miraculously levels it out. Now, there is mayhem. Everyone scrambles to get out. Miranda tells Semi to hold on and not let go. Stick together. Next thing they knew, they were in the water, buoyed up by their life jackets. And then they started swimming - swimming as fast as they could away from the wreckage - away from the deafening explosion. Swimming, swimming, swimming. That's all Semi could remember. She doesn't really know how they made it to the sand, and crawled out of the roaring waves. Semi, Miranda, and, Arnie, further down the shore. Three survivors, alone, somewhere, nowhere. But alive.

Semi was certain that nothing could ever be more horrific than what she had just lived through. But she is wrong.

Surviving on the beach - the sun, the snakes, the dead body parts, ...and the fading hope of rescue - that just may be the easiest part of their ordeal. For unknown to them, there's a terrible secret on this island. Dr Franklin's "hospital".

Sam Marsh  (Colorado Blue Spruce Children's Award)

Booktalk #2

How many of you have wondered what it would be like to be a bird? I think the freedom of flight must be wonderful. Any of you ever wish you could be an ocean creature? What kind? Why?

That's the premise of this book, Dr. Franklin's Island. A plane full of teens is headed for Equador for a wildlife conservation trip. There's a terrifying plane crash. Only 3 kids survived, washed up on a desert island.

Miranda's the one who seems to take the lead. She's the positive, self-confident, inspiring one.

Arnie's the slacker. He's a dreamer who pretends he doesn't care.

And Semirah is our narrator. She's unsure of herself, has always been a loner. But she admires Miranda a lot.

The island looks deserted. The teens build a shelter, find food and a fresh water source. Things are discouraging, but the kids are surviving. Arnie's trying to build a raft. There's hope. Then Arnie disappears. The girls look in all the usual places. No Arnie. The girls have pretty much given Arnie up for dead when they stumble upon a compound, hidden in the middle of the island. They're immediately discovered and taken by guards to the compound. Their hopes that this is a rescue are quickly demolished when they are imprisoned. Soon they come to a horrible realization. This compound is a research station run by Dr. Franklin. Dr. Franklin is doing genetic research. Dr. Franklin's mad dream is to change humans into a superhuman breed that can mutate from humans to animals at will. Miranda and Semirah are to be Dr. Franklin's next test cases.

The thing is, they DO get to choose what animal they'd like to be. So the question is: do you really want to be a bird? A fish? A victim? An experiment?

Susan Bartel  (Colorado Blue Spruce Children's Award)

SUBJECTS:     Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks, etc. --  Fiction.
                        Islands -- Fiction.
                        Genetic engineering -- Fiction.
                        Science fiction.


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