I check your “caught my eye” sidebar probably every day. I wish there was a way to comment on it. I really loved the article “Middle Grade Saved My Life”. The question of providing profound and engaging but safely age appropriate books is so important and something I think about a lot.
I’m always so happy to hear that sidebar is useful to someone! 🙂 I enjoyed the Jeanne Birdsall piece very much too. As a lover of middle-grade (both as a reader and a writer), I’m always happy to see someone championing its importance. It’s been a bit irksome, these past few years, to see so many mainstream articles blurring the distinction between middle-grade and YA (or indeed, seeming entirely unaware a distinction exists).
I had the same reaction you did about the idea of a mole in an attic, and she said it’s exactly what SHE had said to the exterminator, who swore it happens. It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard of, though!
I can’t find a kangaroo rat that looks quite right—their shape is more round-backed, nose less pointy, ears too small, and they have that tuft of fur at the end of the tail. This thing had more of a ridged, naked-looking tail. Like a rat. The pictures of roof rats (shudder) look close (but not quite right), and their habits fit. But the whole point of Miss J’s story about this critter was the surprise of its having been IDd as a mole by the pest control guy. Odd, eh?