Olivia is an expert at finding lost things. Whenever a neighbor's glasses, keys, wallet, or pet goes missing they contact Olivia because she is sure to find what they've lost. The only thing Olivia can't seem to find is her brother's toy ostrich. Jacob has autism and it seems like ever since his ostrich went missing things have been getting more difficult for him; he's been more stressed and having increasing emotional melt-downs. Olivia just wants things to go back to the way they used to be, before the ostrich went missing.
When the zoo comes to their town, Olivia and Jacob decide to go check it out. Jacob is hoping to see lions, tigers, or bears and chants it over and over on their way to the zoo. When they get there, however, there are no lions, tigers, or bears. The last animal to be unloaded is an ostrich. Jacob goes into a frenzy that incites the stares of the zoo employees. Olivia eventually convinces Jacob to calm down enough so they can go home, but she knows she needs to find his toy soon before things get worse.
With the help of a new friend, the zookeeper's son Charlie, Olivia searches the entire town for the ostrich. In the meantime, Jacob's outbursts get worse and at times violent. Will Olivia and Charlie be able to find the ostrich before something drastic happens?
This story really explores how having a loved one with a condition like autism impacts the entire family. Olivia's parents struggle with ensuring Jacob has the attention and care he needs, while still allowing Olivia her autonomy. I think the author does a good job at creating an entertaining and at times surprising story with realistic characters. There are some stressful situations that may be difficult for younger children, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about autism and how it can affect a family.
This book is available in print at the library. Click here
to place it on hold!