"Mother Nature has created all kinds of life besides us. It’s important that we learn that all lives matter, not just some."

The author teaches a lesson of the importance of valuing all life equally, no matter one’s age, size, or even species. A hiker in a Rocky Mountain forest loses his balance and falls into a rushing stream, putting his life at risk. To save himself, he grasps a lettuce plant that a tribe (the Shun) of “little people” is gathering for food. A tailless dog named Sagebrush and his parents, who live on Young Miss’ ranch, hear the struggle and concoct a plan to save both the hiker and the Shun. Will the plan work, will they save the whole group, or will the hiker and the Shun suffer a tragic fate?

Stylistically, the scene of the attempted rescue appeals to the reader’s imagination. As she describes the roar of the water, the shivering Shuns, and the swirling and flinging of the lasso, the author creates a vivid picture of the exciting event in the forest. The creative use of names such as Sagebrush, Butterfly Creek, Rainbow, and Termite makes this message of a typically grave subject of equality into a fun read. Franks deftly approaches a timely subject of social justice in this page-turning story. Introducing characters from three very different species gives the author a variety of choices to speculate on the challenges of being suspicious of others that are different as well as the perceived dominance one animal has over another species. In the character of Young Miss, Franks provides a loving, open-minded hero that can bring peace to a varied group by practicing compassion, understanding, and patience. The reader will be empowered to use this powerful message of tolerance in everyday life after reading this fun and interesting story.

Return to USR Home