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Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite
“Harley and the Egg” by Malinda Mitchell is an educational tale about a red dachshund puppy named Harley, and his response to discovering an egg in the yard. Harley asked his mother if he could keep the egg, incubate it, and raise whatever hatched from it. She cautioned him about the commitment he would be undertaking and then approved his request. They devised a way to carry the egg to their doghouse, where Harley proceeded to keep it warm until it eventually hatched into a sparrow. Harley raised, fed, and loved the sparrow as it grew, until one day his mother told him the sparrow was ready to fly away. She told Harley that even though it might make him sad to let his sparrow fly away, if he really loved it, he would let it go, and that was exactly what he did. Mitchell has crafted a fun and entertaining way to teach children respect for all living things.
This tale serves a couple of purposes: first, it attempts to teach children to have respect for all forms of life; second, it attempts to teach them that love involves making sometimes painful sacrifices. The illustrations are colorful caricatures of the story’s characters, and are drawn in a manner very appropriate for young children’s books. The concept of sacrificial love may be a bit mature for very young children and a lot of adults also have problems in grasping the concept. But the respect for life, primarily for animals, is a good lesson for even the youngest children to begin learning. This story is not “preachy” or anti-anything, just a good, reasonable tale of respect. Good mix of attention-holding pictures and text. I am constantly amazed at how many so-called "children's" books have page after page of text, with no illustrations for the child to focus on. This book admirably avoids that flaw. “Harley and the Egg” is a cute story, well-illustrated, and age appropriate. I recommend it as a suitable addition to your young child’s library.