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Miracle in Sumatra: The Story of Gutsy Gus    by Jeanne McNaney & David Cochard order for
Miracle in Sumatra
by Jeanne McNaney
Order:  USA  Can
Ovation, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Children's author and environmental activist Jeanne McNaney has penned her second book highlighting the plight of another endangered species. In Miracle in Sumatra: The Story of Gutsy Gus, McNaney helps children (and their parents) understand the plight of endangered Sumatran orangutans from the animals' point of view.

Little orangutan Gus is separated from his parents when a hunter captures them in his net. Gus's new friend Maya is the daughter of one of the hunter's men. She and an angel protector of the forest named Gabriella wonder if they and Gus have what it takes to successfully carry out the rescue. When the hunter, fleeing from an enraged Gus, becomes entangled in vines and dangles precariously over a crocodile-infested river, will Gus and Maya help him, or leave him to his fate? Do they have it in their heart to forgive?

Illustrator David Cochard's expressive pictures are endearing and richly colored. McNaney's text is engaging but probably too wordy for some kids, and the gimmicky guardian angel bit detracts. Nevertheless, motivated by her own heartfelt sense of stewardship, McNaney hopes to instill environmental awareness in her young readers. Miracle in Sumatra champions a noble purpose and tells an important story. Notably, a portion of the book's profits support wildlife conservation and endangered species preservation.

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