Dewey Doo-it Helps Little Owlie Fly Again: A Musical Storybook Inspired by Christiopher Reeve to Benefit the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
PreSchool-Grade 2–This first book in a series that aims to teach children the values of compassion and helping others was inspired by Christopher Reeve's struggle with paralysis. When Dewey Doo-it's kite becomes lodged in a tree, the protagonist and his siblings ask renowned flyer Owlie for assistance, but they find the owl in a wheelchair after an accident. He shows the Doo-its how he can paint with his beak and use a special computer despite his disability. Wanting to help Owlie fly again, the Doo-its construct and launch him in a contraption that resembles a hang glider, and he successfully frees the kite. Mandy Patinkin reads the story on the accompanying CD, and the narrative also includes performances by Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, and Dana Reeve. While the goals of this endeavor are laudable, the text is too pat and preachy. The Doo-its come across as patronizing, since they step in to help Owlie without asking for his input or acknowledging his effort. While Gillmore's full-color, full-page cartoons are lively and animated, the Doo-its, an unspecified species of mammal, are overly cutesy. The CD is a mixed bag. Some of the tunes are catchy with clever lyrics while others are strained and unmemorable. While it is difficult to object to the goodwill behind this project (proceeds from the sales support the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation), few children will connect with its pedantic tone.
Truly adorable, yet very meaningful. It's obvious that the author knows how to appeal to young readers.
Winner of the 2005 "Mom's Choice Award" for children's literature, Dewey Doo-it Helps Owlie Fly Again tells the heartwarming story of Owlie, an owl who uses a wheelchair and is no longer able 'to flap his log, graceful wings and fly all over the Jingle Jangle Jungle.' Undaunted by Owlie's disability, Dewey Doo-it helps his little friend 'learn to fly again - in his own very special way!'
This book, (and accompanying CD featuring 9 songs by Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters and Dana Reeve), was inspired by the life of Christopher Reeve.
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