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Review: A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue by J. A. Myhre

A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue by J. A. MyhreA Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue (Rwendigo Tales #2)
J. A. Myhre
New Growth Press
Published September 13, 2016

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About A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue
Eleven-year-old Kiisa had no idea why her parents would send her away to boarding school. She wondered why they couldn t all stay together in their beautiful African valley home. But no matter what she said they were firm: she must go, and she must go to this school.

As she said a tearful goodbye to her father, he whispered, For such a time as this. . . . Remember that phrase, and try to open your trunk soon. You ll find something unexpected inside. When Kiisa opened the trunk, she was astonished to find a small heap of black and white feathers that quickly unfolded into a little bird, a wagtail to be exact. Her surprise only deepened when the bird started to speak, My name is Njili. I am one of the Messengers, though a small one. I have been sent to assist you with the Rescue. Kiisa had no idea what she meant, but she would soon find out.

My Review
I liked the foreign setting of this story and some of the cultural details. Even though it’s set in a made up place, the author clarifies that some of the events in the story were based on things she witnessed while living in Africa serving as a doctor. I thought Kiisa was an interesting character and identified with her homesickness and her feelings of otherness at school.

While I liked that the author talked about prejudices girls face with regard to playing sports, I guess I found it odd that even though Kiisa was talented, she played for a while without being truly interested in soccer. I wondered if someone would do that when faced with all the teasing and pressure to quit that she must have faced. I also wanted that part to tie into the rest of the story somehow. It ended up being this sort of side vignette that didn’t really relate to the story’s major plot—the rescue Kiisa would need to perform.

Other elements of the plot seemed disjointed, too, or like they kind of came out of nowhere. I liked the idea of animals as messengers from God and found that to be an imaginative idea, but I expected them to mentor Kiisa in her faith as well as help her with the practical steps toward a rescue.

I liked Kiisa’s relationship with her family, her dad especially. The setting made me think a little bit of Katie Quirk’s A Girl Called Problem, also set in a small village in Africa. Readers who liked Escape from Sudan might also like A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue.

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Cultural Elements
Characters are African—takes place in an imaginary place in Africa.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Kiisa encounters Messengers, animals which speak to humans and are sent by God to help with His purposes.

Violent Content
Rebel soldiers with guns attack Kiisa’s school, taking one girl hostage. They set fire to the building where Kiisa and other girls sleep. A crocodile tries to attack two girls in the water. No graphic descriptions or details.

Drug Content

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.