SLJ LASKY, Kathryn. The Hatchling. 222p. (Guardians of Ga'Hoole Series). map. Scholastic. 2005. pap. $4.99. ISBN 0-439-73950-0. LC number unavailable.
Gr 4-6The fascistic Pure Ones, a tribe of barn owls who believe that they alone are fit to rule, lost their king, the evil Kludd, during a great battle in The Burning (Scholastic, 2004). In this seventh book in the series, Kludd's sinister widow Nyra continues to plot to conquer all of the owl kingdoms, especially the heroic, egalitarian owls who dwell in the great tree of Ga'Hoole. She raises her hatchling son Nyroc to one day take his father's place and teaches him to believe in the power of hate. But the older he grows, the more he disagrees with his mother's ways, and after he learns the horrible truth about a deadly ceremony the Pure Ones have planned for him, he realizes that he must leave his home and his mother. While Lasky has combined fascinating details of how real owls live with her imaginary civilization, the story lacks any humor that might relieve its dreariness. The Hatchling often lumbers rather than soars.Walter Minkel, New York Public Library