A sympathetic hero, engaging illustrations, and a strong message make this book a must-have for families, schools, and...


Oscar the Osprey


In Polansky’s debut book for young readers, ospreys are kings of the air. So what happens to a young osprey who’s afraid to fly?

This book tells the story of young Oscar the osprey from the very first moments of his life (“it took a while before I could see anything without squinting,” he says). While still a chick, he has the traumatic experience of almost falling out of his nest, and from that moment on, he grapples with crippling anxiety about heights—a serious handicap for a creature designed to fly in order to fish, migrate, and make his home in trees. Necessity is the mother of invention, so Oscar methodologically figures out how to live life with his disability and how to survive mostly alone when the other ospreys migrate south for the winter. The book is divided into chapters, and although they’re unnumbered and there’s no table of contents, it has the slimness and large pages of a picture book. It also has copious illustrations by Rosow, whose expressive line drawings are wonderfully reminiscent of both Jules Feiffer and Shel Silverstein. The book’s format may prove confounding for readers, or the parents of readers, seeking books for specific reading levels. However, its refusal to fit into neat categories is characteristic of its protagonist. In the end, this isn’t a story about Oscar forcing himself to change in order to fit into the way the world works. Rather than triumphing in a predictable way over his limitations, Oscar intriguingly learns to adapt to them and even turn them into strengths. He finds that his unique perspective gives him special abilities that are valued by his family and friends: “I never could fly above a low level without squinting….One thing was certain though; at a low level, I was the best there was.”

A sympathetic hero, engaging illustrations, and a strong message make this book a must-have for families, schools, and communities with differently abled kids. 

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5049-1010-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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