Author: Kathryn Lasky
From GoodreadsMy Review
In the first book in the GUARDIANS... series, the reader is introduced to Soren, a barn owl and the centerpiece of the series. When Soren is pushed from his family's nest by his older brother, he is rescued from certain death on the forest floor by agents from a mysterious school for orphaned owls, St. Aggie's. When Soren arrives at St. Aggie's, he suspects there is more to the school than meets the eye. He and his new friend, the clever and scrappy Gylfie, find out that St. Aggie's is actually a training camp where the school's leader can groom young owls to help achieve her goal.
This was a very cute, fun book that should hook fans of animal and action books. After seeing the preview for the movie, I decided it was time for me to read at least the first book. Besides, it's a book about owls! I wouldn't say I was overly excited about the story, but it was cute and fun. I really really liked Soren because he was such a brave owl that, although scared, fought to do the right thing. How could you not like a story with such a likable main character! I also loved what a true friend Soren is. He gave his word to help Gylfie, and he never once went back on it. I don't know if I've seen such a strong example of friendship in a book I've read in a long time. It was great to see!
Now the story is not without it's weaknesses. I found the whole idea of meaning moon-winked a little goofy (and it even seemed goofy in the movie), but it worked within the idea of the plot. I also found their nurse-maid snake a tish creepy, but I did love the humor that came out of the whole not eating snakes bit. It made me giggle! St. Aggie's seemed very scary at first, but the longer Soren was there, the less it seemed so. As Soren and Gylfie got away with more things it started to seem a bit unrealistic if the place was as tough as it was portrayed at the start. How could they do all that if it was so strict?
Now all of these things are pretty minor when you look at t he story as a whole. And really, I think picking it apart that much is not really keeping with the purpose of the book. The book is meant to be a story of unexpected heroes - not deep world changing literature! I'd rather leave it a sweet heroic tale that reminds us of the hero that is within each of us. Soren never thought he could be a hero, and he was. Don't we all need that message?
Final thought: Heroic owls and strong friends equals a good story
Best stick-with-you image: Soren's first pellet
Best for readers who: Like stories with talking animals
Best for readers ages: 8-12