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Of a Feather

by Dayna Lorentz

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This was such a great story featuring a unique young girl Reenie, and Rufus, a great horned owl she and her aunt rehabilitate. Of a Feather features a subject that I find quite interesting – falconry. In addition to being a falconer, Reenie’s aunt is also able to rehabilitate injured birds of prey. While Reenie and her aunt had their hopes set on rehabilitating a passage hawk over the winter they wound up with Rufus – a great horned owl who isn’t doing quite so great on his own in the wild.

The family dynamic in this book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. As a result of her situation Reenie has become more mature than most children her age. Bit by bit her aunt, her newly found friends and Rufus himself chip away at the armor she’s created to protect herself. The friendships that Reenie unexpectedly forges bring light to the fact that you don’t always know what someone’s life is like based solely on appearances. This book was definitely worthy of a “who saved who” sticker and I just love tales like this.

The chapters told from Rufus’ perspective are comical and lighthearted but still draw from the dangers that fierce birds of prey face in today’s world. I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue between Rufus and Red the hawk. We also see Rufus struggle with becoming content in the safety of rehabilitation and his desire to return to the wild – finally the great horned owl he was always meant to be.

Of a Feather is a beautiful middle grade book about found family, tough subjects for kids, and being brave enough to trust others. I would highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy birds, falconry, rehabilitation/rescue, found family, middle grade, and tough subjects for kids to process (divorce, unavailable parents, depression and anxiety). This is one book that I will be saving in hopes of sharing it with my daughter once she is old enough to read it. I would like to thank Amazon Vine and HMH Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read a gifted copy of this book – all opinions are my own. ( )
  thereviewbooth | Mar 9, 2021 |
A part of me wants to say that this one resembles My Side of the Mountain, but it really has very little in common with that story...outside of the relationship with the bird and maybe a broader sense of learning how to deal with the feeling of being alone. Still, it had me thinking of that story.

This story takes two very different creatures, who've been left to feel alone. One is six grade Reenie, who's being passed around homes until (and if) her mother is able to heal from her own psychological problems, and the other is a young owl, whose mother was injured and taken away. The story alternates between the two, making for an interesting mix between bird and human. It's intriguing to see both views as they grow closer and develop a bond, which surpasses simple friendship...and find their own healing along the way.

When I picked this up, I was a bit afraid it might become too preachy, and I was pleasantly surprised that this doesn't happen. It stays on the tale and shows the relationship between the two, while allowing them to still struggle in their own worlds and ways. It's great to get to know both of the characters, both being relatable and sympathetic. I'm not normally a huge fan of talking animals, but this one is entertaining and offers the needed insight to make the story endearing and hit home. Rufus, the owl, never truly speaks but this one mirrors his thoughts in a way readers can easily understand and relate to. And he has tons of personality.

Owl lovers are going to really enjoy this tale. While diving into the world of falconry, it takes an unexpected twist into the world of owls, and allows the real problems of owls and general facts surrounding them to come through. Of course, this owl is more than that, since it tells half of the story, but real traits, living habits and such are explained along the way. So, the reader does learn a quite a bit.

Middle graders will connect with these characters and see their own problems reflected. Not only does Reenie face the issue of going from one foster home to the next, but, more universally, the state of feeling alone and being hesitant to reach out is something many readers can identify at one point or another. Then, there are the usual troubles of fitting in at school and finding new friends, when no one seems to understand. I'm glad to say that this one doesn't rest on bullying...which was refreshing...but tackles the problem of learning to open up and building trust.

Summed up, this one surprised me and was even better than I thought it might be. I can see middle graders enjoying this one quite a bit.

I received an ARC copy. ( )
  tdrecker | Dec 26, 2020 |
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