A pair of critically endangered Philippine eagles in captivity aspire to life in the wild despite growing developments surrounding them.
“Flying high above the forest of Tambala at sunrise, Kalayaan spots a monkey. Food! / The young Philippine eagle swoops down to follow the monkey. Where did it go?” In concise and evenly paced text, Kalayaan is pursuing his prey when “BOOM!”: He is shot by a hunter. Luckily he is rescued by a father and son before “everything turns dark.” Upon awakening he meets Pinpin, a female eagle bred in captivity. Pinpin informs him that he is in rehabilitation and is optimistic that both can be released in the wild. Alvarez, a Philippine-based artist, illuminates the eagles’ dreams of the forest with bleeding layers of pastel-hued watercolors embellished with highlighting patterns. While they wait for Kalayaan to recover, both birds discuss how “the forest has been cut down for timber, so that eagles have less and less space to hunt for food.” Ho successfully addresses the complex issues with clarity without detracting from the heart of the story. Both eagles eventually find a hope-filled conclusion. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Philippine Eagle Foundation.
A soaring read-aloud that makes the rare national bird of the Philippines accessible to young environmentalists. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-8)