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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Surprisingly good fantasy-adventure story about owls (not a graphic novel)

Lasky, Kathryn  (2003) Guardians of Ga'hoole:  The Captive New York:  Scholastic.



"A legend, Kludd, is a story that you begin to feel in your gizzard and then over time it becomes true in your heart.  And perhaps it makes you a better owl."

It is always hard to summarize a book, but this is particularly hard when talking about a book about owls that talk and think and feel and are good and evil and really, really interesting.  So from the start, you are going to have to take my word for it that Kathryn Lasky is remarkably good at making the idea of the owl world believable.  Look, if Tolkien can get you to believe in fuzzy-footed hobbits, and Rowling can get you to believe in that three little nerds can defeat a snake the size of a commuter train, I think you can give me this one -- so the owls are believable, okay?

Soren is a young barn owl who is betrayed by his own brother and captured by a sort of cult/totalitarian society of bully owls who brainwash other owls and are up to no good.  Along with his friends (who are even smaller and weaker than Soren is, they manage to evade brainwashing and begin to plan not only how to escape, but how to save some others as they do so. 

I found it to be a remarkably engaging story.  I think we are probably talking strong 4th grade readers through sixth or seventh here (but I liked it, and I am 46, so there you go.)   The Captive is the first book in a series, so it will keep your students (or children, or yourself) reading for a while.)

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