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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
The Adventures of Woodsboy by Cindy Hennig is a charming, fun, and instructive concept story for children. A baby boy is found by Father Eagle in a Florida wood and he takes the young child back to the nest. He and Mother Eagle name him Woodsboy and raise him along with their new brood. The eagles are revered by the other woodland creatures as being wise, but the eagles want everyone to learn that wisdom comes from the Great Spirit which is everywhere and within all of us. Through their woodland encounters, the baby eagles and Woodsboy learn many spiritual lessons as they grow: sharing, facing fears, asking for what you need, overcoming anxieties, dealing with bullying, and setting boundaries.
I enjoyed discovering this book. The Adventures of Woodsboy is a well-constructed tale divided into eight chapters. It is interspersed with appealing black and white illustrations drawn by Heather Torres, an award-winning watercolor and acrylic artist. Exploring and presenting life and core spiritual lessons through the story is a great way to engage young readers and help them understand their own feelings and emotions. I love the way the connection between nature and spirituality and change through the seasons is woven together in this story. Woodsboy’s emotional understanding grows alongside his physical growth. As he ventures further from the nest and encounters others and different situations, so he gets to grips with various social, emotional, and spiritual lessons.
Cindy Hennig's insight into what causes fears and anxieties and their resulting typical behaviors makes this an excellent book to share and discuss with children struggling with issues such as fear of change or lack of confidence. Issues such as realizing feelings are not always facts and “all or nothing” thinking are explored. The story’s positive message and unfolding lessons that “we are all Great Spirits” with our own inner wisdom and kindness make this a great addition to every parent, teacher, or child therapist’s emotional and spiritual growth toolbox.