272p. ebook available. Scholastic May 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545655033; ebk. $18.99. ISBN 9780545655040. POP
Gr 6 Up—The third entry in the author's well-received quartet, this work introduces us to Raja, a pet orangutan living in suburbia with John and his parents. John grows up with Raja, and their bond is deep. But as the animal grows older and less cute, the family is forced to stop treating him like a teddy bear come to life. Raja is separated from John, banished to a trailer in the backyard. Eventually, the friends have to live further apart when John's parents separate. When the boy's father decides to send Raja to live at a zoo, John knows he has to say goodbye to Raja. He realizes he can't let Raja be mistreated and abused any longer and decides to smuggle the orangutan back to where he came from—Indonesia—no matter what it takes. It's John's responsibility to do what's best for Raja, whatever that may be. Schrefer beautifully shows the humanity we share with all living things and pulls some heartstrings in this tale. Readers will be affected by the narrative and realize that while this work is fiction, stories of mistreated animals in our societies are unfortunately quite real and common.
VERDICT This is another well-written and fast-paced story that Endangered and Threatened fans will enjoy.

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