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Baby Owl's Rescue by Jennifer Keats Curtis/A Review

To raise awareness for Endangered Species Day, I am posting reviews of several awesome picture books from Sylvan Dell. Sylvan Dell publishes award-winning picture books that integrate Science, Math, and Geography and are great resources for both classroom teachers and homeschool moms. Check them out!

Baby Owl’s Rescue

Written by Jennifer Keats Curtis Illustrated by Laura Jacques Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover: 32 pages Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing (September 5, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 1934359955 ISBN-13: 978-1934359952

It is generally known that when we find a wild baby animal, we should not touch it because it could bite or scratch us. But then again, experts say it is best to leave it alone or return the baby to its parents. So how do we correctly and safely handle this situation while helping the baby as well? Thanks to Sylvan Dell’s book, Baby Owl’s Rescue written by Jennifer Keats Curtis, we can read all about how one family rescued a wild baby bird!

Baby Owl’s Rescue is a delightful picture book that tells the story of what happens when sister and brother, Maddie and Max, find a baby Great Horned Owl on the ground instead of in his nest. They hear a clack, clack, clack noise and follow the sound to the base of a large pine tree in the corner of their yard. There they discover the tiny bird with bright yellow eyes, sharp beak, furry feet and big, long talons.

The children know not to treat a wild animal as a pet, so they call their mother, a wildlife rehabilitator, to come help. They want to do what is right for the baby owl. After their mother assesses the situation and identifies the nest high up in the tree, she puts on heavy gloves and gently tries to direct the baby back up the base of the big pine. But he is too small to scale the tree. Now what will happen? Will the baby owl be left to fend for himself against predators?

Thankfully, Maddie and Max’s mom figures out just what to do. She puts the baby owl in a laundry basket that has been lined with small branches and calls some firefighters to use their “cherry picker” truck to lift the basket into the tree and secure it below the nest. Maddie and Max watch excitedly as their mom turns on a CD of “baby owl noises” to call the parents back to the tree. Soon the mother returns and sees her baby, then takes off to find food. When she returns with a mouse for her offspring, the rescuers know they have been successful! A happy ending for all!

Jennifer Keats Curtis has done an excellent job telling this story, and I like the lesson within the story—helping wildlife is important, but it must be done cautiously and with supervision from an expert. It’s obvious she enjoys teaching children about preserving and protecting local wildlife. She lives with her family in Maryland, and she has written several books for Sylvan Dell.

I also love the illustrations by the very talented Laura Jacques. The pictures are beautiful, colorful and realistic. Ms. Jacques has over twenty-five years of professional experience as an illustrator, and she enjoys illustrating books that focus on natural history, wildlife, and the environment.

As always, Sylvan Dell sets high standards by introducing lively stories interwoven with sound mathematical or scientific information. In this case, the reader is exposed to some important lessons about nature and wildlife. In addition, there is also a ‘For Creative Minds’ section in the back of the book including, fun facts about Great Horned Owls, matching and sequencing activities, and information about what to do if you find an injured bird.

You can also find more links, activities, and quizzes for this book and other titles at You can even find out how Sylvan Dell titles align with statestandards. Options and possibilities are numerous, making these books excellent for both classroom and home use!

Reviewed by Amy M. O'Quinn for Sylvan Dell.

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