Book Review, Fantasy, Junior Fiction

Journey Beyond The Burrow by Rina Heisel

This review is on the advance copy of an unpublished work I received through NetGalley. Journey Beyond The Burrow is due for release July 13th, 2021.

Tobin, a young mouse, is a weather scout. It’s his job to be aware of signs of danger in the sky and the scents of the forest to alert his colony of upcoming bad weather. He’s also a big brother to little Talia and a baby on the way. He’s got to have all the Rules of Rodentia memorized. His mother lost a baby the year before, so a lot is weighing on his mind when a big storm approaches and knocks a tree down, creating a bridge from the other side of the river for ferocious enemies and unexpected allies alike. When Tobin’s newborn sibling is kidnapped, he embarks on a quest to save the little one.

This would be a fun read for any middle grade animal lover! The story is fast-paced and fun, with plenty of fantasy elements that make for an imaginative tale. The woodland creatures each have their own sort of social structure. Along the journey to save his siblings, Tobin makes allies of squirrels, moles, and even snakes! They’re all united against a common foe: the monstrous plague of unnatural spiders sweeping across the land.

Tobin is an easy protagonist to relate to; he’s a smart older brother, who cares a lot about his little siblings and his parents. I appreciated that this book touched on sensitive topics, like miscarriage and how it can affect an older sibling, while not becoming overly sad or heavy so that it’s still a fun adventure for kids. I think I would have really enjoyed this story when I was 11!

Is It For You?

Genre: Fantasy
Themes: Family Relationships, Siblings, Coming-of-Age, Good vs. Evil, overcoming preconceived ideas about others who are different from you and learning to work together.
Character: Child protagonist, relatable, animals
Pace: Builds
Writing: Third-person
Clean Score: 0 for language, 1 for violence, 0 for romance for a total score of 1/9. There are some child-friendly fight scenes–they’re battling spiders, after all! To find out more about my Clean Score, click here.

Let’s Discuss

What did YOU think of Journey Beyond The Burrow? Let’s discuss your thoughts in the comments below! (If you haven’t read it yet, please remember the comments section is NOT a spoiler-free zone!)

Civility Reminder – Meadowlarkin’ promotes discussion and healthy disagreement! I believe there is beauty in different people having different voices and opinions. Please respect others, even if they disagree with you. All comments will be moderated.

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