Bolz’s (The Dawning of the True Self, 2013) debut Middle Grade novel follows one brave adventurer; never mind that he’s a rooster who can barely fly.
Joshua is proud rooster with bright red tail feathers who lives to protect his coop of hens. But one day, Joshua has vivid dreams that simply leave him wanting more than his formerly uneventful and fulfilling life. So he flies the coop in search of adventure, purpose and the three mysterious feathers that he sees in his dream. Along the way, he meets Grey, a loyal wolf searching the world over for freedom from the pain of his past. Grey and Joshua become fast friends, and soon they welcome another companion into their fold—Krieg, the former warrior horse. In a way, all three are searching for something: Joshua for his life’s purpose, Grey for reprieve from unspeakable loss and Krieg for peace at last. The three brave rabid-hyena attacks; rescue a beautiful, mythical creature from centuries of imprisonment; explore a magical city of light and travel far, wide and deep to complete this mission. The choice of featuring a rooster as a protagonist initially seems off-putting, but the righteous, humble Joshua is a likable hero. In some ways, the tale follows a traditional coming-of-age format, and while the typical life journey doesn’t involve a killer vulture or an army of spiders risen from the dead, everyone’s got formidable obstacles. Bolz’s writing style is crisp and to the point, and the dialogue between the characters—whether spoken or internal (all three animals can speak telepathically)—flows well.
A fantastical, appealing blend of barnyard and Hogwarts.