4 out of 4 stars
Review by busycat
If you like wildlife stories or tales about South America, this children’s adventure novel might just be for you. Talon: Come Fly With Me is the first book in the Talon series by Australian (German-born) author Gigi Sedlmayer. The story concerns a 9-year-old girl who interacts with Andean condors, but there’s no audience limitation on this one as it’s a universal story that brings out the child in everyone.
Talon: Come Fly With Me is about Matica, a young girl born with a disability that makes her body tiny. Her parents have moved to a small town in the Peruvian Andes to serve as missionaries for the local Indians. Her parents and younger brother Aikon have adjusted well, but Matica is shunned by the Indians, who view her disability as a bad luck and a curse. Feeling lonely, Matica forges a private life for herself by befriending a condor who has nested with his mate a few miles from her home. The condors give Matica their precious lone egg to protect from poachers, and she raises the baby bird, who she names Talon. Because the Indians admire condors, they accept her at last and her parents are proud of her.
For the pros, the story is fantastic. It reads really well and I was amazed by the author’s ability to keep interest flowing smoothly even though the story was very simple. The emotions of Matica and her family and friends were the main element of the story and held a lot of drive although almost ¾ of the book was either flashback areas to when she first met the condors or was a real-time portrayal of raising the baby condor. It was a growth journey for Matica and her family rather than a novel with a “plot,” and I felt I got to know real people by the end of the book, like watching a home video. It was sweet that Matica was even able to use her small size to an advantage because it made her tiny enough to ride Talon and fly with him.
There weren’t a lot of cons as this is an excellent book with outstanding message and presentation. The final third of the book got a little slow, even though it was able to hold interest most of the time, because several chapters were devoted exclusively to every little thing the baby bird, Talon, did as it lived life. But that’s not a big con, certainly not enough to keep from recommending the book.
I’m pleased to give Talon: Come Fly With Me a perfect 4 out of 4 stars. The book’s subtle, well-drawn cast of believable people and its detailed, accurate information about condors (I painlessly learned a lot about these birds and their fight against extinction just by reading the story) make it one I’d definitely like to see in libraries and would recommend to parents and young readers.