by Jean Craighead George
Another middle-grade level book. I borrowed this one up from the library, saw it next to Julie of the Wolves on the shelf. It\’s about a kid whose father is a logger in the Northwest. He looses his job because of spotted owls, when they are declared an endangered species. Full of anger, the kid goes out to shoot a spotted owl, but instead rescues a young owlet that has fallen from its nest. He takes it home (thinking it is a barred owl- it doesn\’t have adult markings yet) and his family begins raising the owl. They don\’t quite know how to feed it at first but the daughter learns how to take care of raptors from one of her teachers- who also happens to be into falconry and who once got into a heated altercation with her father. Which resulted in a threat of a fine or jail time. The father decides he will care for the owl and take it with him to court, to soften the judge\’s heart and show all the environmentalists that he can be kind to owls (as long as they aren\’t the spotted owl). There\’s quite a bit of irony in that his daughter is learning about raptor care from the guy who got him in trouble, and also that he\’s really harboring a spotted owl. It all comes to a nice, tidy conclusion.
While there is a lot of information packed into the story about how baby owls grow, what they eat, how they behave, etc. most of it felt a little forced. Lots of characters take it upon themselves to explain it all to others, so the reader can learn. Didn\’t quite feel smooth. There is also a lot about how the owl is important to the ecology of the forest, what improper logging does to other parts of the ecosystem, how it affects the other wildlife and other people and industries and so on. The most interesting part about the owl is, of course, why it gets in the shower. Other than that, it\’s kind of dull. There are also a few parts of the story told from the viewpoint of the parent owls in the forest, and that feels pretty slow too.
So it was an okay read, I learned some things, but it wasn\’t terribly enjoyable.
Rating: 2/5 134 pages, 1995
Buried in Print