Monday, 16 April 2012

Review by Martha Cheves, Talon, come fly with me

Talon, come fly with me – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

The male condor spread his huge wings and hopped to the ground. Matica had to jump clear, out of the reach of his huge wings. Instead of flying off, as he normally did, he kept standing, turning around and looking at her. Matica’s eyes nearly popped out of her sockets. He’s so huge, she thought. Standing stock-still and not folding his wings to his body, the bird blinked and waited for what Matica would do. Since nothing happened for the next few minutes, the bird tilted his head and grunted. Matica interpreted it as: what now? His mate screeched from the sky in surprise. Matica couldn’t move. She was frozen stiff with fear and her face was as white as a ghost. The bird looked way bigger on the ground than he had looked on the branch. He folded his wings very slowly to his body now as if he knew he might frighten her, then he made another sound. Matica felt so small and thought: Will he kill me? But no, I’m alive. He can’t kill, just like Dad said. Matica gasped for air and her pink colour came back into her face. She was amazed that this had really happened and she wondered: What should I do now? I think he’s afraid of his own boldness, and so am I. He’s watching me. I should move, do something. After all, I told him to come down…but he’s so big.

Matica and her family moved from Australia to a little remote village called Pucara which is about twenty kilometers away from the Andes in the northern part of Peru. Matica’s parents are missionaries to the Peruvian Indians who spoke little or no English. Through her father Crayn, this has started to change.

Matica has a medical problem that prevents her body from growing to its normal size. When they first moved to Pucara Matica was five but her body looked as if she were only two years old. Even though Crayn had explained this disability to the Indians they still thought she was odd or even possessed by an evil spirit. They were so afraid of her that they refused to let their own children play with her. This left Matica alone and lonely. To solve her lack of friendship, Matica took to the sky, making friends with a pair of Condors.

When I started reading Talon, come fly with me, I knew nothing about the Condors. After reading Talon, come fly with me, I had to appease my curiosity by looking them up on the internet. They are large birds weighting from 20-23 lbs. with body lengths of 50” and wingspans of 9-10 feet. They mate for life and live 50 plus years producing 1-2 eggs every 2 years. They can fly up to 15,000 feet at speeds of 55 miles per hour. And they are on the endangered species.

Matica’s story of befriending these birds, helping them rescue their egg from poachers and then the actual raising was a story that took my breath away. Only a child such as Matica can see the beauty in an animal that everyone else calls ugly. And only a child would have the tolerance to do what had to be done to keep ‘her’ birds surviving. This is a beautiful book for all ages, especially for kids.

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