cover image The Eagle & the Wren

The Eagle & the Wren

Jane Goodall. Michael Neugebauer Book, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7358-1380-9

World-renowned chimpanzee authority Goodall (Dr. White) retells a favorite fable from her childhood, closing with a personal anecdote. The birds of the world squabble about who can fly the highest, and the owl devises a contest to settle the question. Goodall inserts a few amusing references: the dove mentions its key role in Noah's story, the land-bound ostrich takes consolation in its wings' part in securing a mate. As one by one various contestants drop out, only the eagle remains, soaring high above the earth. A surprise stowaway in his feathers (the wren) suddenly appears, using him as a launching pad to fly even higher. When they arrive back on the ground, the owl drives home the story's moral of togetherness and teamwork. If the conclusion overstates the obvious, Goodall's prose flows smoothly enough, and she continues the book's theme in an afterword (""We all need an eagle""), sharing insights on those who have played that role in her own life. Reichstein's (Mina and the Bear) illustrations of the winged creatures are meticulously crafted, and the timeless, sweeping expanse of blue sky along with the heavenwards-slanted text creates a soft visual echo of the story's soaring motif. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)