by Louise Hector
Last week Darren asked us all to take part in 5Acts4Wildlife. One of those acts was to donate just £3 to Wildlife Aid to help the charity feed the many orphaned and injured animals they get into the centre each week. As Wildlife Aid was on my mind I thought it was time to find out a little bit more.
Simon Cowell’s novel “The Owl With The Golden Heart” is a heart-warming tale of One-Eye, a Tawny Owl who is injured and his rescue by Two-Legs, the humans at Wildlife Aid.
The Owl With The Golden Heart meets a wide range of other rescued creatures and helps them to understand their surroundings and what is happening at this frightening time for them.
Told from the perspective of the patients cared for by Wildlife Aid, Simon introduces us to a cast of animal characters including the wise One-Eye, kindly Hedgehog and cheeky Crow. One-Eye reassures his fellow patients that even though they are very frightened and confused they are safe and the Two-Legs in this place are helpful. Soon word spreads that this is a good place for animals in trouble. A number of individual stories show us the range of animals and injuries cared for by Wildlife Aid – hedgehogs, squirrels, badgers, woodpeckers – all manner of life is here.
Cleverly Simon lets the reader know about the vast array of work done by Wildlife Aid for their patients in a non-clinical manner, the details of feeding, examination, rehabilitation and release are weaved seamlessly into the narrative. As are the causes of injury including accident, cruelty and human carelessness.
I noticed something else – a real message of inclusion and respect for differences between us. One-Eye is disabled yet this doesn’t stop him leading the group of patients in the Shed, others help him when needed but his disability doesn’t stop him in any way. He adapts and his friends help him. The animals are all different but they still work together. Another important message for young children is being given in a very subtle way here. No-one is being lectured here but the message is clear. Respect each other, help each other, be careful about what you do and help wildlife.
As you would expect from a story predominantly aimed at children some of the sadder elements of Wildlife Aid’s work are missing, instead this is a story of hope and celebration of the successes of the people who give so much of their time to rescue the wildlife which so often needs our help.
Beautifully illustrated by Jo Maynard this is a must-have for primary aged children who are interested in animals and an uplifting read for the rest of us who may be (ok – are) a little bit older.
You can buy The Owl With The Golden Heart from Wildlife Aid and from bookshops and online retailers.