Lara's's Reviews > Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew

Nurk by Ursula Vernon
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's review
Nov 15, 08

bookshelves: childrens-fiction
Recommended for: Parents and 4th-6th grades
Read in November, 2008, read count: 1

Synopsis : Nurk is a quiet homebody of a shrew. Until the day a mysterious letter arrives. Suddenly he's involved in a harrowing rescue--the likes of which would intimidate event the biggest and bravest of shrews.
Review : There is perhaps a small window of reader that will truly love this tale. But, they will LOVE it! I count myself among that window of reader. The vocabulary requires an advanced reader while the story itself is a little slow and predictible for all but the younger crew. Nurk happily lives in the willow occupied by his family for multiple seasons. He lovingly admires his grandmother, Lady Surka, whose bravery and magnificent tales of adventure are aptly portrayed within a photo hanging in the willow. Lady Surka is holding her sword in one hand and brandishing the severed head of her enemy in the other. Nurk wants to be as adventurous and strong as she is and is provided the opportunity in the form of a misdirected letter. Sweet tales of snailboat building, glorious dragonfly monarchies and an evil, freakishly tentacled mole the size of a mountain make for a shrew adventure perfect for reading aloud to little ones on a cold, rainy day.
Critical Reviews :Tim Wadham from the School Library Journal writes, "Vernon's writing shows some flair, but overall the story's effectiveness is hampered by some slow parts and a plot that relies on predictable contrivance and coincidence." While Kirkus Reviews noted, "Nurk's adventure, and the tone in which it's related, will remind readers of Stuart Little's quest." I agree slightly but would include a touch of the "Wind in the Willows" and "The Tale of Despereaux."
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