Thanks to Scholastic, I recently had the opportunity to read the first book, Guardians of Ga’Hoole #1: The Capture in the 15 book series.
The Capture (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky; Scholastic (August 1, 2010); ISBN 9780545253062; 240 pages;Born into a loving family, a baby Barn Owl named Soren lives happily alongside his parents and siblings, listening to his father tell stories about a Great Ga'Hoole tree and a special order of owls that rise each night to perform noble deeds. One dreadful day, he falls out of the fir tree hallow before he is yet fully fledged. A group of evil owls capture him and take him to the horrific St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls, a place that snatches the young and innocent and terrorizes the other owl kingdoms. There Soren tries to thwart the brainwashing "moon blinking" attempts, and together with his new Elf Owl friend, Gylfie, plans an escape. Along the way, the two young owls befriend two more owls, Twilight and Digger, and the group bands together to find the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, in a search to discover truth. Is the epic story about a group of owls that "rise each night into the blackness and perform noble deeds" truly real or only a legend?
Book Source: Review copy received from publisher
Obviously, extensive research of owls went into the writing of this fantasy novel. Lasky skillfully slips in various owl tidbits and facts along with all the wonderful details of life in the numerous fantasy owl kingdoms. Readers learn about nesting, fledging, blind snakes that housekeep and owl pellets. Lasky bases her characters on real owl species and even made sure to include the smallest and largest in the owl world -- the Elf Owl and the Great Gray Owl.
An ordinary Barn Owl with a hero's heart, Soren's character is probably my favorite of all the owls in the book. Not only is he a hero, but he displays kindness and is an empathetic owl. Lasky creatively uses several special made-up owl phrases like "good light" instead of "good night" and exclamatory phrases like, "Oh, for Glaux's sake." This intense and quickly-paced read sometimes skirts the edge in terms of darkness and violence, and one specific scene involving vampire bats left me feeling a little shocked and uneasy. The recommended age level for this middle grade book is 9 and up, so I'd hesitate before giving it to an overly sensitive, younger child and would definitely not read it aloud to my kindergartener. However, for older children, especially boys and reluctant readers, I'd highly recommend the books in this imaginative fantasy series. The first book certainly spurred my interest in owls -- I even want to dissect my own owl pellet. Know where I can find one? Don't let those super cute owl posters mislead you. If the movie is anything like the books, there will be plenty of darkness, heartbreak and combat. I look forward to seeing how the new movie compares.
Official Website for the Book Series
National Wildlife Foundation at the Movies
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Official Movie Site
Read the book before you see the film! Thanks to Scholastic, one Brimful Curiosities reader will win:
* A copy of Guardians of Ga’hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky
* A copy the first book in Kathryn Lasky’s new series -- Wolves of the Beyond: Lone Wolf
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Thanks to Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture. (I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)