Wilson offers readers an inspiring story about an owl that just won’t give up, but there’s much more to this lovable picture book. As Nessa hops her way to the North Pole, she comes across an array of remarkable animals who also call the Arctic their home. Front and center are Nessa’s reindeer friends—“grunting and snorting, on the cool crunchy frost of morning”—alongside lemmings, a pair of decidedly rude snow geese, and a dangerous arctic fox who Nessa evades at the last minute. Throughout her journey, her flying skills slowly evolve, as does her awareness of the wilderness she’s insistent on traipsing through during a dangerous time of year.
Just as Nessa is on the verge of not making it, she’s rescued by a conservationist who transports her to warmer weather, and a veterinary clinic, via his hovercraft. Nessa, of course, is convinced she’s been saved by Father North, and Wilson smartly leaves it up to young readers to decide if she’s correct. The illustrations evoke the Arctic’s chilly whiteness, and the story boasts plenty of discussion points for adult readers to cover—and a reminder that even in the harshest climates, a little love goes a long way.
Takeaway: Cool-hued story of a young snowy owl’s dangerous journey.
Comparable Titles: Nicholas John Frith’s Hello, Mr. Dodo!, Adam Rex’s Unstoppable.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-