The Lost Rainforest: Mez's Magic

368p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Feb. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062491077.
Gr 4–7—Deep in the rainforest, there are animals who are daywalkers and those who are nightwalkers, and it is unnatural for the groups to ever meet. Mez, a young panther who lives with her aunt, sister, and cousins, is not content with walking only at night. While her family sleeps, she explores beyond their cave, making her a shadowwalker. When a constrictor named Auriel comes calling for Mez, she succumbs to his plea to join other shadowwalkers in defeating the ant queen who is imprisoned in the ziggurat. The animals are all heavily anthropomorphized, each with their own distinct personality. As with most adventure stories, the protagonists must contend with obstacles and villains to reach their ultimate goal. It is the camaraderie of the group, and their ability to work together, that makes this tale so charming. Readers will be cheering when Mez and the gang figure out the riddle of the ziggurat.
VERDICT Just right for middle grade readers who want an engrossing fantasy adventure.

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