It’s hard to love just enough to let go….
Based on their experiences running a wildlife refuge, the author-and-illustrator team brings forth a satisfying tale of their daughter’s temporary adoption of an abandoned wild wood duck. “The hardest thing you will have to do is not to love him too much,” Dad explains when Heather finds the tiny chick she names Mr. Peet. “His true family should be with other ducks. Saying goodbye will be hard.” Plaintive, descriptive text and colorful, painterly pictures highlight Heather’s evident fondness for Mr. Peet as she cares for him, feeds him, plays with him and teaches him what he needs to know to go back into the wild. When the time comes for Mr. Peet to separate himself and eventually take leave of his human family, it isn’t easy for Heather at all, but she finds comfort in what she’s done. With support from her father, she feels proud of her accomplishments. Though the telling of the tale is sometimes a bit clunky, readers will step away with a new understanding of animals and conservation. An author’s note discusses life at the animal refuge and the imperative that wild animals remain in the wild.
Animal lovers will enjoy this straightforward tale with an important message meant to be shared. (Picture book. 5-8)