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Guardians of Ga'Hoole

by Kathryn Lasky
Series: The Guardians of Ga'Hoole #1
219 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by arwen1300

A very enjoyable, well-written book with good content; some spiritual and violent content.

Plot

Soren is a young barn owl who is two weeks old when his brother pushes him out of the nest and he is snatched by owls from St. Aggies. St. Aggies, he finds, is an institute where young owls, taken from their families, are given numbers instead of names, are brainwashed by the moon, and are forced to work. He meets an elf owl named Gylfie and they escape the brainwashing by remembering Legends of Ga'Hoole, about a great tree and heroic owls. Together they find out that an older owl, Grimble, had avoided the brain-washing to some extent and he helps them escape. They go back to where they had lived, but their families have moved away for fear their other owlets will be taken. Twilight, an owl who taught himself and grew up on his own, begins to teach them how to survive, and when they rescue a burrowing owl named Digger from a St. Aggies patrol, the four of them decide to try to find the great Tree of Ga'Hoole and see if it is real, and to hope that their parents might be there.

Morality

Good and evil are very clear throughout the whole book, and in the time Soren is with his family his parents have very strong morals, as does the snake who helps their family, Ms. Plithiver.

Spiritual Content

Glaux is the owls' name for God, and while sometimes the name is used improperly, as in "Great Glaux!", no other religion is mentioned. Belief is considered very important, though, especially when learning to fly. The plot's main point, of the Legends of Ga'Hoole, is rather spiritual in nature.

Violence

An owl named Hortense is rescuing eggs from St. Aggies and is pushed off a cliff by one of the adult owls. One owl is killed while helping others escape, the ones in charge, but Soren and Gylfie don't look. There is also a fight when they save Digger, but the descriptions are not gory.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Some of the owls from St. Aggies behave very badly toward owlets, and at one point owls from St. Aggies who are chasing Digger are planning to eat him.

The words 'Hell' and 'racdrops', meaning raccoon droppings (an owl curse), are used several times.

Conclusion

A very good book with a lot of emphasis on values and belief. There is some violence, but not graphic, and the story is very profound for the age it's written for. I enjoyed this book now and when I first read it in 4th grade. In addition, it has good information on different species of owls and their characteristics.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 8-10

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