A relatable and heartfelt avian adventure with an appealing cast.


A shy osprey finds her confidence in this third installment of a chapter-book series.

Small and quiet, Opie does not fit in with her fellow ospreys. Hoping for some alone time, she seeks refuge in the mountains, where she is attacked by an eagle. She is rescued by her worried brother, Oscar, who scares the predator away. As Opie convalesces, the other ospreys indulge in gossip. Their aloofness causes Opie to withdraw even more than usual. Concerned, Oscar consults the wise owl Woo, who explains that Opie is an introvert and “all you can do is to support her, not make her decisions.” During the osprey migration, Opie, Oscar, and their brother Otto get separated from the others following a hurricane. Opie skillfully retraces the “migration flight pattern” and instructs her brothers to circle, yelp, and listen until they locate their injured parents. To her brothers’ surprise, Opie takes charge of mom's and dad’s healing. She even protects them from a hungry coyote. Opie “was developing into something new: a nurturer and caregiver, things she had never been before.” When the birds are strong enough to fly home, Opie leads the way. The other ospreys are surprised the family made it out of the storm alive and are shocked to learn that it was Opie­­—who now goes by her full name, Oprah—who kept the clan safe. The community’s elders are so impressed that they “thought about bringing Oscar, Otto, and Oprah within their council,” meaning “Oprah would be the first female elder—ever!” Eloquently written and engaging, Polansky’s story depicts the importance of courage in the face of hardships. The tale also emphasizes the need to respect different personality traits, temperaments, and abilities. Readers will root for the kind, empathetic characters here, particularly the three siblings who support one another during difficult times. The book occasionally references events in the author’s previous installments, such as how “Oscar was famous among the ospreys” and once had a fear of heights. Still, the story can easily be enjoyed and understood by new readers. Rosow’s simple but effective black-and-white line drawings depict pivotal scenes, like Opie’s tussle with the coyote.

A relatable and heartfelt avian adventure with an appealing cast.

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-66550-832-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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