With Just One Wing

With Just One Wing
Age Range
Release Date
May 14, 2024
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Everyone expects Coop to be musical like his beloved parents, but he’s not. That’s one of the few things he finds awkward about being adopted—well, that and the fact that he sometimes wonders why his birth mother didn’t love him enough to keep him. This summer, he’s stuck at home with a broken arm after falling out of a tree trying to get a closer peek at a mockingbird nest. Later, when the eggs in the nest have hatched and the fledglings fly away, he and his friend Zandi notice that one of them stays behind. Taking a closer look, they realize the bird only has one wing. Since it won’t survive in the wild, they adopt it and name it Hop, and then learn everything they can about birds so they can care for Hop properly. Unfortunately, when a hawk injures Hop, the vet says it’s illegal to keep mockingbirds as pets. Faced with a difficult decision about surrendering his beloved little bird to a bird sanctuary, Coop starts thinking about his birth mother’s motivation in a new light.

Editor review

1 review
Learning about family
Overall rating
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What worked:
The book shares a heartwarming tale of Coop’s efforts to save a mockingbird. He knows the bird is defenseless in the wild and he refuses to let it die. Coop learns what Hop needs to survive with much of the research being done by his friend Zandi. Coop’s grandparents pitch in too since G-Pop’s backyard bird-watching is what allows them to find Hop in the first place. Coop and Zandi constantly consider what will make the bird happy and Coop is especially concerned the mockingbird won’t discover its beautiful singing voice. Readers will anticipate that Hop’s first song will signal a fully successful rescue.
Coop and Hop are both saved by others so adoption becomes a major topic. Readers will compare and contrast the characters’ lives as Coop experiences circumstances that evoke thoughts about his own life. Safe haven is a term used that reminds him of the hospital where he was left by his birth mother. His broken arm is similar to Hop’s missing wing but Coop realizes his injury will eventually heal. He notices Hop’s parents constantly feed and protect the bird and Coop thinks about them after Hop is rescued from the nest. Coop reflects on his own birth mother and wonders if they might recognize each other if their paths ever cross. Why did she give him up? Caring for Hop offers Coop new perspectives on the different people involved in adoptions.
What didn’t work as well:
Having the story told from Coop’s point of view lets readers know what he’s thinking and feeling but it doesn’t offer many opportunities to learn about other characters. Zandi is a close friend but readers are left wondering about her life and thoughts when Coop’s not around. Consequently, outbursts when she’s upset seem to come out of the blue since all of the attention is on Coop.
The final verdict:
The skillful description of Coop’s adventure will lead readers on an emotional roller coaster. The parallels between his life and the mockingbird deliver heartfelt lessons concerning adoption and family. I recommend you give it a shot.
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