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Claude and Medea

The Hellburn Dogs

Zoe Weil

Winner of the 2008 Gold Moonbeam Award for juvenile fiction!

Claude and Medea aren't expecting an odd substitute teacher to change their lives. Nor are they anticipating the dangerous adventure in store for them. They seem like normal kids. But are they?

Claude has famous parents and sticks to the rules. Medea's got a scholarship to a fancy private school and can't get in trouble. How is it that they are thrown together, trying to outsmart Manhattan criminals? And why do they care so much about the weird Ms. Rattlebee? Find out what makes this unlikely pair begin to view the world differently, and to risk everything.

Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs is a riveting story that will make kids eager for more while offering them true heroes for today's world. This is a book that gives kids not only what they most want but also what they most need—protagonists who embody courage, compassion, and care.

Reviews & Endorsements:

Meet Claude and Medea

In a world where society seems so self-centered, kids today need positive influences that instill good character and show why it is important to care about what happens to others.

They also need books that teach as well as entertain. In Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs, author Zoe Weil accomplishes all of the above.

Showing that you can't judge a book by its cover, Weil introduces the reader to Claude and Medea, two classmates, who, on the surface, seem unlikely friends. The son of a Senator and a famous journalist, Claude Maxwell-Cunningham is agreeable and outgoing, which Medea Ramon is an intelligent young girl from Harlem who attends their exclusive private school on a full scholarship. They are brought together by a quirky substitute teacher named Ms. Rattlebee.

Through Ms. Rattlebee, Weil cleverly discusses many issues of concern to our society, including social justice and animal rights. Although their classmates seem unsympathetic to the plight of those less fortunate, Claude and Medea look at things differently, and form a bond that brings about a great friendship.

Their fortitudes are tested, however, when they learn that Brady and several other dogs in the neighborhood have been stolen. Appalled that someone would even consider doing this, Claude and Medea want to do more than just learn about such a terrible incident, they want to try to stop it. In doing so, they embark on a dangerous adventure that leads them to an animal research laboratory.

A controversial topic to broach, Weil tackles the issue of animal research carefully, and includes admonishment for the children from Claude's father as well as the police for getting involved in such a treacherous situation. In the end, both Claude and Medea learn valuable lessons, and no doubt so will young readers.
I read Claude and Medea in a sitting; I was depressed for all sorts of reasons, but probably most of all from being a grownup. I sat down to have a quick flick through, thinking myself too depressed to actually read it, and found myself whisked away to brisk September Manhattan morning, with 12-year-old Claude stepping onto a Madison Avenue bus on his way to school. Claude doesn't know it yet but something is about to happen that will change his life forever.This exciting novel by animal activist Zoe Weil, who is president of the Institute for Humane Education, tells the story of what ensues after Claude meets Medea. It all begins with a mysterious substitute teached called Ms. Rattlebee, who wakens in the children feelings of compassion and empathy.Medea has been vegetarian since reading Charlotte's Web, and after Ms. Rattlebee's very strange first class, Claude decides to go veggie, too. Soon Claude and Medea are so inspired that they find themselves chasing dangerous criminals around New York, all to help the underdog, as it were.My only complaint is that the wonderful Ms. Rattlebee isn't in the story long enough. Perhaps Zoe Weil could see her way to writing a sequel to this book, with Ms. Rattlebee playing an even bigger role. And I do think a fantastic movie could be made of Claude and Medea.The book is suitable for ages 9-12. I wish I could send a copy to every primary school kid on the planet.

112 pp.  
5" x 8"

Lantern Books


Published:  March 2007


Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement. She is the author of six books, including the Nautilus Silver Medal–winner Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life (2009) and two books for young readers, including Moonbeam Gold Medal-winner Claude and Medea (2007). She has written numerous articles on humane education and humane living, and given interviews to such outlets as and numerous radio and television stations. In 2012, artist Robert Shetterly painted Zoe’s portrait for his acclaimed Americans Who Tell the Truth series. Also in 2012, Zoe was honored with the Women in Environmental Leadership award at Unity College. In 2010, she was inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame. Zoe lives with her husband and several rescued animals in a home adjoining the Institute for Humane Education in Surry, Maine. See all books by Zoe Weil

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  • The World Becomes What We Teach : Educating a Generation of Solutionaries
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