Colin, a country boy, is excited when his big brother Andrew gives him an air rifle for his 11th birthday. Only, when mum finds out, she takes it away, saying he’s too young for it. But Andrew is bigger than mum now, and doesn’t listen.
When Mum’s out, Andrew retrieves the rifle from under her bed and the boys practice shooting beer cans outside the house. Yet when Colin takes his rifle out into the fields and shoots a sparrowhawk, he knows that he’s done something wrong and takes the hawk to the vet. Perhaps seeing an opportunity to make Colin take responsibility for his actions, Mr Scorsby enlists Colin in helping care for the hawk – and as he does, Colin finds a passion for wildlife he never knew he had.
Nicola Davies has created another brilliant wildlife story for young readers in this part of a series of six beautifully illustrated books with Cathy Fisher. The story is ideal for upper primary readers, and, as ever, mixes a strong emotional connection with animals with fascinating detail.
Anyone reading Flying Free will want to rescue their own hawk and watch them hunt and dive in wide, green fields – and sympathise with Colin’s journey to confidence and happiness.