Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.1 Chron. 16:11
The Hunt for Fang explores two key spiritual themes: the importance of prayer (and God’s willingness to answer!) and stewardship of the earth.
I felt that Cleary Eastep did an excellent job of emphasizing the importance of prayer in surviving dire situations, and in everyday petitions. The author introduced a memorable acronym to convey the importance of prayer, which should stick with readers even after the conclusion of the story.
I also really appreciate that she integrated stewardship as a theme, throughout the book. This is a command that Christians often overlook and I liked that Midge was the one to take up the cause.
What I Liked
Characterization and Connection
This is the second book in The Tree Street Kids series and I actually enjoyed it considerably more than the first.
Because the characters have already been established, we dive into the plot much more quickly. We encounter Jack and Midge, Ruth, Roger and Ellison once again. We also meet a few new fun characters: human and animal, alike. Like the original cast of characters, these new introductions were well-developed and intriguing, whether or not they were likable.
I enjoyed the introduction of a certain sixth-grade nemesis. This character was believable and, for me, added another layer of interest to the book. Likewise, I enjoyed meeting youth pastor Noe Hernandez. He was a fun dude.
I felt that Jack was more mature, in this novel. While he’s definitely still the same character from book one, I found him more likable, in this book. I think he treated Midge a bit better, this time. He also seemed to be a bit more respectful and less selfish.
I also had a deeper personal connection with this book, because Jack is yearning for a dog at the beginning of the story and my mom just got a new puppy! The timing was impeccable.
Speaking of animals, it was fun to see how important the animals were, as characters. In addition to a certain delightful dog, we also encounter Ruthie’s cat (Capt. Beans; learning a bit more about Ruthie in the process) and the title character, a coyote named Fang. Midge is also on the hunt for frogs and happily dispenses her biological knowledge, throughout the story. That brilliant little girl continues to impress!
Educational (and Entertainment!) Value
This book was so delightfully entertaining and educational. It was one of those experiences where I found myself learning new things without planning to. This is such a refreshing way to learn. It is often painfully apparent when an author is trying to teach something (Interestingly enough, I’d argue that this is even more prevalent in Christian books with presentations of the Gospel).
However, Cleary Eastep teaches in a fun, painless way, as she seamlessly integrates facts (and even urban legends) into the novel. As with book one, The Hunt for Fang incorporated fun little index card graphics, throughout, with factoids that supplemented the text— courtesy of Midge and Ellison.
These tidbits meld well with the narrative and are even endnoted at the back of the book. While I didn’t read through every note, I saw pronunciation information, as well as the fact that one of the things Jack believed to be true (about how many spiders humans swallow) was actually false.
There was also a thread about survival skills, throughout the novel, and I learned right along with Jack. I found the diagram about building a fire to be particularly useful.
This title made Redeemed Reader’s Flashlight Reads list of books that young readers won’t be able to put down.
It’s a fun title and I didn’t observe any content concerns. I’m all the more intrigued to see what will happen in book three!