The Hyrax Song
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Readers’ Favorite International Book Reviews and Awards
The Hyrax Song, 2nd. ed., Book Two in The Pearls of Wisdom Series: Stories Inspired by a Biblical Proverb
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite, 2022
The Hyrax Song (Pearls of Wisdom Series Book 2) is a work of fiction in the fantasy and adventure subgenres, and it forms the second installment of the series. This work by Catherine Ann Russell and artist Brooke Connor is intended for children. We follow a series of adorable animal creatures on a quest to find the truest version of themselves in this short tale based on Biblical messages of goodwill to others. Our protagonist, the mouse Princess Journee, must band together with friends old and new to save her father’s kingdom from a dark fate that awaits. In doing so, she will encounter all different kinds of personalities and ideas and learn to embrace others with acceptance and cooperation.
I enjoy children’s works that have a clear moral message but also manage to tell a compelling story without simply turning it into another sermon or lecture on Biblical morals. Catherine Ann Russell achieves this beautifully in this succinct but memorable work that independent readers will certainly enjoy escaping into. To add to the layers of clever storytelling and positive theming, the illustrations by Brooke Connor make the story come to life for those whose imaginations need a little more of a nudge. The combined approach gives a unique personality to Journee and each of her lovable friends, making readers even more invested in the outcome of their adventures. The Hyrax Song will certainly please fans of the first work in the series, and newcomers will adore discovering a new storytelling style from a creative team with an uplifting message to share.
Reviewed by Kayleigh Perumal for Readers’ Favorite, 2023
“We find ourselves in a position as never before — to help our neighbor in their time of need and thwart massive destruction to our beautiful kingdom lands. Success means we have made a powerful ally; failure means disaster.” These are the words the Great Mouse King speaks in the Hyrax Song: Book Two in the Pearls of Wisdom Series by Catherine Ann Russell. The king and the rest of the realm must prepare to face a threat that they have never experienced before. His daughter, the mouse princess, Journee, and her friends, Mr. Toad, Mr. Owl, and Mr. Steed, are at the forefront of this mission, along with help from the distinguished Rock Hyrax, Mr. Badger. Mr. Badger’s message first warns the king about the “army” of locusts approaching, which they see from the High Western Mountain.
Based on Proverbs 30:24-28 from the New Living Translation (NLT) version of the Bible, Russell weaves a spellbinding children’s tale with several moral lessons. These include helping neighbors, staying stoic and united in adversity, and the immense value of friendship and loyalty. The characters are well-rounded and unique. I especially loved the little details that made their personalities distinct. For example, the fact that Mr. Toad is always emotional is very amusing. Jeffrey Machado narrates this short story with perfect tone and rhythm, keeping the young listener engaged. Machado also seamlessly switches between each character’s voice, indicating how diverse and versatile he is as a narrator. The Hyrax Song is a beautiful story that children of all ages will enjoy listening to.
Rated 4 Stars
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