Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 108
Learning about family
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
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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