Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guardians of Ga'Hoole -- Coming to a Theatre Near You

My oldest daughter got started on the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky over the summer, mainly because it was one of the selections she could choose from for the Barnes and Noble reading program. She picked it because nothing else looked very interesting and although she wasn't sure she'd like it, she brought it home.

8 weeks later, she has read ten of the 15 or so books in the series and can't wait to get her hands on the rest. She has browbeaten her parents into reading the first few books as well, so I am now able to tell you that if you read these books, you will know a great deal about owls -- maybe more than you ever thought possible (or necessary).

The books -- at least the first few -- follow Soren, a young barn owl who has fallen from his nest in the forest. He is captured by some owls from an 'orphanage' called St. Aggie's, but this 'orphanage' has a sinister intent. With his friend Gylfie, an elf owl, Soren escapes St. Aggie's and sets off to find the Guardians of Ga'Hoole -- a legendary order of owls said to protect the weak, right wrongs, and do noble deeds.

The series is coming out in film September 24 and so far the stills and trailers look gorgeous. However, this is the same bunch that brought us Happy Feet, which didn't impress me a whole lot, so I am not getting my hopes up. I generally have low expectations for book-to-film adaptations.

What I like about the books is that they drove my daughter to ask so many questions -- what do sooty owls look like? How about burrowing owls? What does an owl pellet look like? What's inside it? Are there really blind nest snakes that take care of the owls' nests? (yes). Questioning, we know, is one of the habits of a good reader, so this was a very good thing. We spent several busy hours on the Internet satisfying her curiosity and building her understanding and knowledge into the bargain.

The other thing I liked was the size of the series -- 15 books are a God-send when you have a child that reads constantly. I spent the first half of the summer scrambling around trying to keep her supplied with books. After we found these, I could put my feet up and drink iced tea on the deck while I ate my bon-bons. Whew!
Already my daughter is begging to see the movie, so I am crossing my fingers that it's at least passably good. In the mean time, if you have a little nature lover who's between 8 and 12 years of age, you might want to give this series a try.

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