An owl and a unicorn commit to helping a bullied jackalope.
This second entry in Anaya’s Owl in a Straw Hat series takes on bullying with a cast of extremely self-aware creatures that includes Ollie the owl, Uno the unicorn, and Jackie the jackalope. One morning, Jackie decides to leave school after being bullied. In response, Nana—Ollie’s grandmother and the teacher at the local animal school—performs an in-your-face finger-wagging lecture for the already-knowledgeable children, shaming them into acting to bring Jackie back from across the Rainbow Bridge. In a weak plot that follows a formulaic and unsurprising three-task arc, Ollie and Uno must deal with the Three Guardians before reaching the land across the Rainbow Bridge (not, here, a metaphor for death) and convincing Jackie to leave the place where there is no “fear, envy, or greed” to return to school, where she was sent by her parents to “learn how others live” so “there will be less prejudice.” Popular Mexican characters such as La Llorona, La Huesuda, and El Kookoóee (El Cucuy) appear as the wise guardians. Evidently not one to cull words, Anaya’s excessive text results in two-column text-only spreads that will inspire readers to skip the page. El Moisés’ illustrations feature many New Mexican, Mexican, and American cultural elements yet they lack dynamism.
Pedantic and predictable. (Picture book. 3-6)