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  • Animal Rescue Team: Gator on the Loose!
  • Written by Sue Stauffacher
    Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
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  • Written by Sue Stauffacher
    Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
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  • Written by Sue Stauffacher
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  • Animal Rescue Team: Gator on the Loose!
  • Written by Sue Stauffacher
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Written by Sue StauffacherAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Sue Stauffacher
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On Sale: May 11, 2010
Pages: 160 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89539-5
Published by : Knopf Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books

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Read by Harlie Vaughn
On Sale: May 11, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-307-73844-8
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE & AWARDS PRAISE & AWARDS
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Meet the Carters: Mr. and Mrs. Carter, 10-year-old daughter Keisha, five-year-old Razi, baby Paolo, and Grandma Alice. Together, they run Carters' Urban Rescue, the place you call when you've got an animal where it shouldn't be. In their first adventure, there's a baby alligator at the city pool, which will seriously interfere with opening day, especially Keisha's cannonball practice. So it's up to the whole family to figure out what to do with the poor guy who has no business hanging around Michigan. Luckily for all of them, and thanks to some serious ingenuity from Keisha, the answer is closer than they ever could have imagined.
 
Sue Stauffacher turns to her first series effort with Animal Rescue Team. With compelling plots based on actual events in her community, Sue has created a lovable cast of characters of boys and girls, young and old, who feel like people you'd meet at your neighborhood block party. Written in an accessible and engaging style meant to appeal to those independent readers looking to be excited and entertained, and with subplots about friendship, siblings, the environment, and animal conservation, along with plenty of humor, these will be a hit with teachers and librarians, and parents, as well as kids themselves.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Chapter One    

The call came in at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Keisha was at the desk, Razi and Daddy were out back bottle-feeding the raccoon cubs and Mama had taken the baby with her to the farmers' market. It was Grandma's turn to be at the desk, but she had traded with Keisha so she wouldn't miss her favorite show: How Not to Look Old.  

Keisha looked at the ringing phone. It might be someone calling for information. But if her parents had to go out on a call, that meant Grandma would take them to the Grand River city pool's opening celebration. Grandma was not fun to be with at the pool. She made everyone wear big floppy hats, even in the shade. Plus, her swim cap had purple flowers on it, and instead of pinching her nose when she jumped in like everybody else, she wore a color-coordinated nose plug.  

Keisha checked the caller ID and was surprised to see that it was the city pool. She picked up.  

"You have reached Carters' Urban Rescue," she said in a deep voice. "Our office is now closed. If this is an emergency, please dial--"  

"Is that you, Keisha?" It was Mr. Ramsey, the pool manager.  

"Yes, sir," Keisha said.  

"I need to talk to your mom or your dad."  

"We're going to be there in an hour," Keisha said. "I'm working on my cannonball today."  

" 'Fraid not, honey. You know that big alligator the kids climb all over? The one that spouts water out of its nose?"  

"Mmmm-hmmm." When Keisha was little, she spent a lot of time climbing on that alligator and sliding down its tail. But she could go on the diving board now, so she didn't hang around in the kiddie area.  

"Well, it appears it had a baby."  

"A baby? As in a baby alligator?"  

"That's affirmative."  

Keisha got out an intake form. At least it sounded interesting. She wrote Mr. Ramsey's name at the top.  

"Tell me what happened, Mr. Ramsey."  

"This morning when I came to open up, there was a real alligator lying in the pool below the fiberglass one."  

"How big is it?"  

"Big enough to make me jump back over the fence. And I've got knee problems."  

"That doesn't tell me how big, Mr. Ramsey," Keisha said in her calmest voice. "You have to talk in inches and feet."  

Keisha knew a little something about alligators. She had written a report on them in Mr. Frost's class last year. Then she watched a special on TV. She loved the way they bobbed in the water with only their eyes showing. She planned to try floating like an alligator herself this summer. If Mr. Ramsey could give her an idea of the size, she could probably tell how old it was.  

"Is it bigger than the spine board?" Keisha asked, referring to the board that hung on the wall by the locker rooms, the one they used if anyone had a bad accident at the pool.  

"No . . . no, not that big," Mr. Ramsey said. "More like the rescue tube."  

Keisha thought a minute. The rescue tube was about three feet long. That was no baby lying in the city pool.  


From the Hardcover edition.
Sue Stauffacher

About Sue Stauffacher

Sue Stauffacher - Animal Rescue Team: Gator on the Loose!

Photo © Roger Gilles

So this is the story of the story of how the Animal Rescue Team series came about. In the summer of 2007, my editor at Knopf and Crown Books for Young Readers, Nancy Hinkel, asked me if I’d like to propose a series idea. Before this, I had written what we call “‘stand alone”’ novels. A series—as I’m sure you know—is multiple books involving the same characters. Well, gee, that was like asking me if I wanted a frozen Snickers bar. (I love frozen Snickers’ bars.).

Years ago, I had written a book called “The Kids’ Guide to Wildlife Rehabilitation.” Wildlife rehabilitators rescued injured and abandoned wildlife and make them better so they can return to the wild. Wildlife rehabilitators work with everything from garter snakes to elephants, from pigeons to porcupines. I love wildlife rehabilitators. There’s never a dull moment when you’re hanging around them.

What a great idea for a family business! So I invented the characters in Carter’s’ Urban Rescue: kids Keisha, Razi, and Paulo, along with Mama and Daddy and Grandma. Then I got to invent their friends: Aaliyah, Zeke and Zack, Wen, Jorge, Samantha, and Big Bob! They live in the city of Grand River, which is a lot like the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I live. Other people in the book, like such as the principal of the kids’ school, the mayor, and the director of the zoo, are even named after the real-life people in my world. (I asked their permission first.). Finally, I just started collecting ideas from the newspaper. If you read the newspaper for about, say, four days in a row, you’ll understand the saying, “‘Ttruth is stranger than fiction.”’ Here’s the one a newspaper headline that got the ball rolling for Animal Rescue Team: “It’s no crock: Gator shows up in GR [Grand Rapids].”

It was interesting to read about an alligator on the south side of the city, but it seemed more interesting and, okay, a little more zany, if the alligator was found in the city pool. That’s how I do it. I take something that has happened, or maybe mush together a bunch of things that have happened, and then I add the magic ingredient—imagination—and I make up a story. Every Animal Rescue Team book has a section at the back where I explain to kids how I got the idea and then how I dressed it up. This is so kids will know what to do with all the ideas they get every day. It helps to write a few things down or take a few pictures with your cell phone, if that’s your gig. But in general, I don’t make up stories, I find them, like plastic cups on the sidewalk; and then I take them home and see what I can make of them.

My dog Sophie and my cat Fig, my boys’ experiences, my husbands’ rescue attempts, and my big old garden behind my big old farmhouse, are all great places to find stories. If I take Sophie for a walk in the woods, she likes to sniff out her own stories. (I can usually smell these later.). To help kids get an even more in-depth look at how I create, I add lots of details on my blog “Imaginerience.” You can get to my blog and see pictures of my garden and a video trailer of the book at my Web site www.suestauffacher.com. If you’re on Facebook, you can choose to “like” my Animal Rescue Team page and keep up with all the latest stuff I’m doing and even more animal rescue tips. I get very excited when kids tell me their own tips and also how the Animal Rescue Team taught them something that ended up benefitting wildlife.

The very best part of writing books is working with a whole team of super-creative people who make “‘plastic cups”’ look like crystal glasses. Our designer for the series, Sara Hokanson, and illustrator Priscilla Lamont make reading Animal Rescue Team as delicious as eating a frozen Snickers bar. And editors Nancy Hinkel and Allison Wortche worked with me to make the characters and the plot sparkle and shine. Together we’re the Animal Rescue Team Team! And we hope you have as much fun reading the books as we did creating them.
Praise | Awards

Praise

"Situational comedy, appealing spot art, and a personable protagonist will give this series broad appeal"- Booklist

"Take one appealing family, add a fashion-crazy grandmother, mix with one abandoned alligator, and you have the first in a promising new series for middle-grade readers."-The Horn Book Magazine 

"An excellent family or classroom readaloud, and kids (and adults) who join the Carter team will eagerly await their next adventure."-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Grand Rapids resident Sue Stauffacher knows her audience. She gets that young readers love animals, adventure and lots of action. She gets that parents and teachers are looking for stories that broaden children’s understanding of family and the world. All those things come together on Stauffacher’s new Animal Rescue Team series."-The Grand Rapids Press




From the Hardcover edition.

Awards

WINNER Bank Street Child Study Children's Book Award
FINALIST IRA Children's Choices
WINNER New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

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