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by Bruce McMillan & photographed by Bruce McMillan

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-04878-2
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

In order to help endangered eider ducks and to restore an island to its natural state, the Icelandic government has given a family permission to collect eggs of wild birds and raise them for release. Drifa, a teenage girl, and her brother and sister travel to many of the remote islands off the coast of Iceland and gather over 200 eggs from the nests of wild birds. These are taken to a remote island owned by Drifa’s father. When the eggs hatch into velvety brown chicks, Drifa raises the ducks but resists cuddling or playing with them so they don’t become pets. These ducks will need to be self-sufficient on their own. She provides food, watches over them as they take a swim, protects them from marauding seagulls, and finally allows them to return to the wild. By early August, Drifa returns home to the mainland and the ducks must find their own way in the world. While the photographs are handsome and the brief story intriguing, the reader may wish the author had provided more information in the text or afterword. For example: what happened to the birds whose eggs they stole? How did they incubate the eggs? How long did the eggs take to hatch? Still, the concept is intriguing and should lead to further exploration. (author’s note, short bibliography) (Nonfiction. 6-8)