On a cliff at the roof of the world, a mysterious raven named Roark rescues an orphaned mountain goat from death’s doorstep. She discovers her astonishing power to talk not only with the raven, but with other animals she meets while searching for her mom. Her search soon becomes a journey—her very destiny—to save her mom’s band of goats from a great peril foretold in an ancient legend.
This story of hope, perseverance, friendships, and finding one’s purpose—with a subtext of climate change’s effects on the alpine environment—will leave a lasting impression on every reader.
“Now listen carefully to me,” Roark said. “Long ago a great peril descended on our home. It brought hardship to the land, for goats and ravens and other living things. That’s when the Legend of Shining Mountain was born.”
Bruce Smith is a wildlife biologist who holds a PhD degree in Zoology. During his career with the federal government, he studied and managed most large mammal species that roam the western United States. He’s authored five nonfiction books of natural history, conservation, and outdoor adventure. Among them is Life on the Rocks: A Portrait of the Mountain Goat, which won the National Outdoor Book Award.
In his middle-grade novel series, Legend Keepers, Bruce draws upon his experiences and fascination with wild animals to stir the imaginations of young readers and immerse them in the natural world. Bruce and his wife Diana live in southwest Montana not far from mountain goats. Visit him at www.brucesmithwildlife.com
Bruce Smith’s Legend Keepers offers a unique insight into the life of the mountain goat. The wildlife biologist and author combines his deep knowledge of animals of the west with the endearing tale of an orphaned newborn goat. In one of the story’s early twists, the baby is given the name “Buddy” – which would seem a more likely name for a billy goat – but no, Buddy is actually a nanny. And – as we soon find out – this nanny holds special powers.
Through the personification of Buddy and other animals she meets, Legend Keepers takes readers on a journey through the tough terrain and rigors of daily existence for the mountain goat. Along the way, we learn about all sorts of animal behavior and characteristics. Who knew, for example, that underneath those rock-hard hooves are soft “spongy” pads to help the mountain goat climb?
At nearly 200 pages, the book will take time for young readers to digest. But Buddy is a carefully crafted character who was born with grit and determination to achieve her dreams, and Legend Keepers becomes a story of adventure and intrigue. Will Buddy be able to overcome many obstacles – including the man-made problem of land development? Will she make it to Shining Mountain to find a better habitat for her herd?
Legend Keepers provides a satisfying conclusion to these questions and offers up an important dose of reality throughout. In the end the book accomplishes its goal: Bruce Smith deftly weaves his scientific experience with a writer’s imagination to leave readers with a fresh appreciation for the ways and the wonders of the mountain goat.
I loved this children's chapter book so much. The story was so heartwarming but also about loss, overcoming problems and having the confidence to solve them. Also knowing where you fit into the pecking order of life. I started reading this book with my 9 year old daughter taking it in turns to read but she didn't seem to warm to it as it didn't contain horses or history. So I was loving it that much I had to finish it myself it was truly magical and cast a wonderful spell of action and adventure and love for each other. This book is brilliant for those who can confidently read chapter books or those just moving onto chapter books with the support of an adult as some of the names a quite unique. It contained a few pictures aswell that were so beautiful. I thought it was so much fun a brilliant adventure story through the eyes of a very special mountain goat with a very special gift to be able to talk to there animals. Its a brilliant coming of age novel and finding your own place within society and how working together you can over come your problems. These morals are so important for children of 7 to 11. I thought it was clever that these morals were taught through nature and it helps children give great respect to life and to nature in turn. Thank you so much to the author and publishing team for bringing us this delightful book to help us learn how to become better people both to nature and to each other. I look forward to reading the next book in this series. And to reading more by this brilliant author.
Middle readers (and adults, too!) will delight in this beautifully written and illustrated story about one of North America’s least known and most endangered large mammals. The author, Dr. Bruce Smith, is an authority on mountain goats, the protagonist species in this, his first, novel. (He has also published several nonfiction works.) Yet, Legend Keepers is more than a dramatic tale about Buddy, an adventurous and gifted young mountain goat. Through a series of encounters in this story, Smith skillfully introduces us to the rich community of plants and animals that share Buddy’s montane environs – and importantly – the unique threats that loom for snow- and ice-adapted species.
As a wildlife biologist I was charmed by the characters in this book, real-life versions of which I had come to know through my own field explorations. Smith’s storytelling prowess – enriched by a Beatrix Potter-like genius for humorously capturing the essence of wild animals – makes his characters spring to life. This is the type of book that will engage young readers and inspire them with knowledge and love of imperiled creatures and their habitats. Hopefully it will also nurture their desire – and their will – to preserve and protect our fellow beings on Planet Earth. Legend Keepers’ environmental conservation message is clear without being preachy, and the story gives the audience plenty to smile about as they follow Buddy’s remarkable first summer of life. I’m eager to read the next book in this series!
Great new outdoor adventure book for middle school readers. Follow the harrowing, mythic quest of a young mountain goat named Buddy. She is a fun, quirky, and strong female protagonist who illustrates the power of friendship (with a marmot and a raven) and family, even families that we have to create through our own efforts.
The high-altitude setting is full of plenty of suspense and peril for even a jaded middle schooler. There is some perfectly gross commentary that your average middle-schooler will love. I found myself rooting for Buddy and relating this story line to classic outdoor adventure novels by Gary Paulson, Jean Craighead George, and others. By adding a legendary quest as well, it will be even more satisfying for young readers.
Language arts and science teachers will admire the natural history and scientific descriptions that are valuable for teaching cross-cutting concepts. There are narratives including climate change, the vulnerability of small, isolated wildlife populations, and the connections between many different species.
Share this with a young reader in your life and then look forward to upcoming installments in this new series from wildlife biologist and science writer Bruce L. Smith. The beautiful, detailed illustrations by Diana Smith make this even more of a treasure.
For those of us who grew up loving stories about animals, this is a delightful return to that frame of mind where animals were unquestionably seen and cherished as unique individuals. For kids, I can imagine how intensely absorbing this story would be, and the joy of sharing with family and friends a newly discovered world of life in the wild. The author, skilled in the art of wildlife watching and interpretation, takes us into situations that outdoors people sometimes glimpse and intuit, where animals communicate with and learn from their kin as well as other species. The novel provides a powerful way to see the stresses of climate change, beyond our human-centered experience. The terrifying encounter with a large logging operation hits hard; ‘habitat fragmentation’ is life and death. But even there, we are treated to bit of wildlife humor at man’s expense. It was a joy to read this book while on a wilderness backpack trip. I could not help but taste some of the lovely plants that Buddy enjoyed, and to wonder how hard it would be to reach the shining mountain on the horizon.
This is a charming story by a talented writer, naturalist and wildlife biologist. Reminiscent of an earlier generations well-loved stories of Lobo the wolf, Krag the Koontenai Ram, and Johnny Bear in Wild Animals I Have Known and Lives of the Hunted, by Ernest Thompson Seton, Legend Keepers offers young readers an engaging tale of a Mountain Goat learning about her mountain world, and her animal neighbors, in a changing environment. There’s a lot of good, solid natural history and animal biology presented easily and effortlessly simply as part of the narrative. Younger readers will enjoy the story, while older readers will be reminded of their own time among the “goat mountains” and alpine terrain, plants and countryside evoked by Smith’s writing. All in all this is a delightful book, highly recommended.
Over the years biologist Bruce Smith has proven to be a captivating story teller through his nonfiction natural history books. Now writing fiction for younger readers and their families he features a delightful and brave wild animal, a young mountain goat named Buddy. In Legend Keepers: The Chosen One Buddy brings the reader along as she learns about her awesome natural world and develops important relationships with other wildlife and their habitats. The book is artfully illustrated by Diana Smith. Wildlife enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy learning about ecosystems and the importance of conservation and other life lessons through Buddy’s experiences on and beyond Goat Mountain. After completing this first volume readers will not want to wait very long to learn more about how Buddy navigates her wonderful wild world.
I received this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Well, I just wanted to start off saying that I had a hard time reading this book mainly because I hate reading on my phone. That being said, I did enjoy the story. At first, it was a little boring, but as the story progressed, I became interested in Buddy and why she was so unique. I've honestly never read a book from a baby goat's perspective. This is not really a book I would typically pick up, and I initially thought this would be a picture book that I could read with my 2 year old. However, this book is more middle grade. It's the perfect book to read-aloud to a classroom or group of kids. The author keeps you interested and wanting to know what happens next. I'm actually excited to see the next book in this series. Also, I just wanted to mention that even though it took me three months to read this book, I still remembered what I was reading when I would go back to it after not reading it for a week or two. Usually, I forgot what I had just read, but not with this book.
LEGEND KEEPERS by Bruce Smith Review by Gayle Joslin Legend Keepers is an inspiring tale with interwoven messages sure to encourage the young reader (and young-at-heart) who will discover not only a world of biological detail from life-cycles of marmots to food habits of mountain goats, but also life lessons involving tolerance, determination, patience and even coping with bullies. The experiences of a courageous young mountain goat, “Buddy”, is a magical tale of life-challenges in the face of loss and love. Legend Keepers: The Chosen One
I recommend this book for strong upper elementary aged readers who like wildlife and adventuring outdoors. They'll relate to Buddy's, the main character, pluck and be delighted to learn about a variety of Northern Rockies wildlife species--from pygmy owls to wolverines. This book also touches on climate change, but in an action-oriented way that focuses on hope and opportunity. There's lots to learn in this book woven into an appealing story. This book would also be a good read aloud chapter book for even younger kids. Legend Keepers: The Chosen One is to be the first in a series. Looking forward to the next installment from biologist Bruce Smith.
Dr.Smith's unique ability to introduce a quirky variety of flora and fauna, while weaving in the affects of climate change on one very special mountain goat herd, is a winning combination guaranteed to spark the curiosity and imagination of young readers. The author also infuses the delightful animals we meet on Goat Mountain with real human emotions such as, loneliness, bullying, loss, humor and love, to name a few. These most basic feelings are sure to resonate with readers of all ages and make for lively classroom and dinner table discussions.
Bruce Smith takes us on a journey with a tale that appeals to adults as well as kids. Along the way we learn about the complex lives of mountain goats and many of the critters that share their habitats. We learn about the challenges they face and the challenges we face. We learn about ourselves. Written with an emotional honesty, Bruce does not shy away from complex problems and how we might approach them. The Legend Keepers also keeps a fast pace, telling a compelling story that keeps the reader fully engaged from beginning to end.
What an absolute wonderful book! Legend Keepers is a book for all ages. It's a beautifully written story about Buddy that touch your heart and teach amazing facts about mountain goats and other animals that Bubby meets on his journey. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. This is a book that needs to be in every school library. Excellent book!! I received a complimentary copy from Hidden Shelf Publishing House, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Dr. Smith is a personal friend, and it is such a pleasure to read a reflection of the things he has made a career of studying and caring about. I know he did those things. He has woven actual and factual behavior he has observed into a story about the way wildlife lives and survives in their habitat. I think an adult sharing this story with a youngster could encourage talks about important things. The adult would be the " Legend Keeper". Talks about enjoying life, losing a parent, the importance of a place for wildlife and humans to live and to always look for that "shining mountain".
I just read a fascinating children’s novel about wild mountain goats! As both a grandfather and retired wildlife biologist, I am happily impressed by this delightful story that will entertain and educate young readers. Young and old will learn about the natural world of the Northern Rocky Mountains, enjoy a good story and gain a better appreciation of how climate change threatens our planet in unexpected places.
Legend Keepers: The Chosen One is a well-written, informative novel that appeals to both the young and old. It engages the reader from the start with its likable characters, witty narrative, and factual writing about the mountain goat and other animals. As a teacher of youth, I highly recommend this novel. It unites the imagination with the reality of the fragility of the earth. It is a great tool for any classroom and a must-have for every bookshelf! I eagerly anticipate the sequel.