Wild Wings

Gr 4—6—A small, close-knit Scottish village becomes the backdrop for this dramatic story of animal rescue and the unlikely friendship of an 11-year-old boy and girl from different backgrounds, with the plot growing to involve people from two continents. Callum McGregor first encounters Iona McNair catching a fish from the swift river on his family's property with her bare hands. Curious about the girl's self-sufficiency and the "secret" she offers to share with him, he follows her to a platform of branches in a tall tree from which they can watch a male osprey building an aerie. They vow to keep the nest a secret. The female, named Iris by Iona, returns to lay her eggs, then becomes entangled in some fishing line, and the two young people must get help. A naturalist from the nearby preserve who treats the bird's injured foot and straps a satellite transmitter to her in order to follow her on her migratory journey to Africa and back. Then things begin to go wrong. Iona is suddenly gone, and when Iris's signal ceases as she journeys to her winter home, Callum must rely on a young girl in a hospital and a medical resident—both thousands of miles away—to help rescue the osprey. In the end, the village people work together to create a miracle of their own. Lewis offers sage advice on friendship and support. She shows that reaching out to others can bring life-changing results. This heartwarming and informative story, with its well-developed main characters, compares favorably with Carl Hiaasen's Hoot (Knopf, 2002) and Farley Mowat's Owls in the Family (Little, Brown, 1962) in offering an adventure that is hard to forget.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Through weird-girl Iona, Callum learns about the osprey pair living on his family's Scotland farm. Soon he's deeply involved in tracking the creatures, to the exclusion of his other friends and interests. There are some over-the-top plot twists, but intriguing details about the ospreys compensate for them by keeping the story grounded in fact. Occasional black-and-white illustrations add atmosphere. Websites.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.