THE CUCKOO CHILD by Dick King-Smith


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 11
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King-Smith's latest is no surprise--yet another tale of an animal on a British farm, informed by keen insight into animal behavior and leavened with just enough fantasy to allow the animals to converse--but it is, predictably, delightful. On a class trip, Jack snitches an ostrich egg (which would otherwise have been fed to a boa constrictor); tucking it under the family goose (he has to find her eggs a stepfamily, since the incubation periods are different), he succeeds in hatching Oliver, whose dim, self-important "father" continues to believe he's a goose despite all the evidence, but whose "mother" is more astute. Seamlessly bringing in an ostrich's normal maturation (Jack, a bird enthusiast, is well versed), King-Smith fashions an eventful plot: Oliver's near-disastrous first swim; his displacement by the next year's goslings and reinstatement after a heroic encounter with a fox; the threat of his being returned to the zoo and its eventual happy outcome, with his own flock of females. Meanwhile, the author characterizes everyone, animal or human, with his usual good-humored wit. A likable story and fine readaloud. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-11)
Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0786813512
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993


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