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Washing the Willow Tree Loon

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gretchen Hesbacher
Oil spills are disastrous for the environment. This book discusses the impact of oil spills on birds and the way community volunteers can help. It is the story of the effects an oil spill has on one willow tree loon. The reader is taken through the steps to clean the bird, explaining removing the bird from the wild, through the oil removal, cleaning and rinsing processes, to the preparation and return of the bird to its natural habitat. Well written and clear, the book illustrates a positive message to protect wildlife and care for birds. The one continual thread through the story is, "the world is full of birds, there is a lot of work to do." This book does a good job of explaining ways to get that work done.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Martin describes the tactics used to rescue a loon that has become coated with oil after a barge hits a bridge in the bay. After netting it, treatment, which takes many days, includes cleaning and drying its feathers until the bird can swim and fly again. Many volunteers, including a barber, baker, and veterinarian, contribute hours to saving the loon and other creatures. The book's refrain-``I have work to do''-may confuse children; at the beginning it is used by an uncaring person as an excuse for not joining in the rescue effort, and at the end instead demonstrates the high level of commitment of the people who try feverishly to save the birds. The phrase also serves as a call to action for readers: ``The world is full of birds. And we have work to do.'' Carpenter's oil paint and colored-pencil illustrations offer a moody, almost impressionistic glimpse into this bayside community and its citizens; at the same time, she includes sufficient detail to make the book useful in a classroom situation. The author's long concluding note provides accurate information for adults that amplifies the procedures depicted in the text, and encourages readers to clean up local environments to help wildlife. Paired with Gloria Rand's Prince William (Holt, 1992); Melvin Berger's Oil Spill (HarperCollins, 1994); or Terry Carr's Spill! (Watts, 1991), the book will provide an idealistic and optimistic treatment of a subject frequently in the news.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Leone McDermott
This book stresses the importance of wildlife rescue by focusing on the fate of an oil-slicked loon. When a barge hits a bridge on Turtle Bay, many birds are caught in the resultant spill. The first passersby do nothing, but soon volunteers arrive to help. A woman leaves her bakery to gently net the damaged loon and take it to the rescue center. There people from all walks of life work together to save birds. The loon is washed, rinsed, medicated, fed, and allowed to recover its natural waterproofing before being released to the wild. Each stage in the loon's recovery is illustrated with large, softly expressive oil paintings in glowing blues and yellows. By focusing on an individual bird, the story gains emotional weight without stickiness. The book would be a good starting point for discussions of personal and community responsibility for wildlife conservation. An extensive endnote provides further information on bird rehabilitation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689804151
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/3/1995
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.85 (w) x 11.29 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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