Following Baxter

256p. HarperCollins/Harper. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062499783.
Gr 4–6—Jordie Marie Wallace is thrilled when she sees that a new neighbor is moving next door. She's even more excited when she sees that her new neighbor, Professor Reese, has a dog named Baxter. When Jordie helps Professor Reese take care of Baxter, she starts to notice strange things happening in Professor Reese's basement. The professor reveals that she is attempting to move things from one place to another through teleportation. When Dr. Reese goes missing and Jordie figures out that she tried to teleport herself, Baxter becomes the key to finding where Professor Reese went. Kerley, known for her picture book biographies and nonfiction, writes with warmth and thoughtfulness in her first work of middle grade fiction. The characters Kerley introduces are fully realized and compelling. Jordie, whose parents are separated, lives primarily with her mom, but often visits her dad, who lives in a studio apartment connected to the family's house. There is enough mystery and science fiction to draw in lovers of those genres, but it is balanced with a realistic portrayal of family and school life that many readers may identify with. A subplot in which Jordie starts to realize she misjudged a classmate who she previously deemed a "bad" kid is particularly compelling. Fans of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me and Jennifer Holm's The Fourteenth Goldfish, where characters learn real-life lessons about friendship and compassion through the medium of science fiction, will find similar themes here.
VERDICT Relatable and compelling. Fans of realistic and science fiction will find a lot to enjoy.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing