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The Capture (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 1) Paperback – June 1, 2003

Book 1 of 16 in the Guardians Of Ga'hoole Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-At the beginning of this new series, a young Barn Owl named Soren lives peacefully with his family, participating in rituals like the First Meat ceremony, and enjoying legends about the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, knightly owls "who would rise each night into the blackness and perform noble deeds." After he falls from his nest, his idyllic world transforms into one of confusion and danger, as he is captured by evil chick-snatching owls and taken to the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. Soren and his new friend Gylfie work to develop strategies for withstanding "moon blinking" (brainwashing), while secretly striving to learn how to fly. The legends of Ga'Hoole help them to survive, and they are able to escape to find their families and warn the world about the dangers of St. Aegolius. While the owls have human characteristics, such as Soren's determination and Gylfie's creative ideas, their actions and culture reflect Lasky's research into owl behaviors and species. The story's fast pace, menacing bad guys, and flashes of humor make this a good choice for reluctant readers, while the underlying message about the power of legends provides a unifying element and gives strong appeal for fantasy fans.
Beth L. Meister, Yeshiva of Central Queens, Flushing, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Soren, a barn owl still weeks away from fledging, is knocked from his otherwise loving family's nest by his nasty older brother. He is swooped up from the forest floor by a pair of nefarious owls who hold him--along with many other owlets of diverse species--captive in a kind of owl social reformatory. Lasky portrays an owl world that has more in common with George Orwell than with Brian Jacques, offering readers big questions about human social psychology and politics along with real owl science. Broad themes related to the nature of personal choice, the need for fellowship based on love and trust, and sharing knowledge with one's peers are presented compellingly and with swift grafting to the animal adventure story. Developmentally linked celebrations (such as "First Fur" and "First Meat"), methods devised for brain-washing (including the regimental marching of sleepy owls by moonlight), and the diverse landscapes in which owls makes their homes come to life here as Soren rebels against his captors, makes a friend, and executes the first stage of his planned liberation and family reconciliation. Readers will look forward to upcoming installments. Francisca Goldsmith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439405572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439405577
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi Readers! Thanks for coming by my author page. I've written all sorts of books - from fantasy about animals to books about science. One of my favorite animal fantasy series, Guardians of Ga'Hoole, is a major motion picture. I liked writing about Ga'Hoole so much that I decided to revisit that world in a different series, Wolves of the Beyond. I've recently added a new Guardians book: The Rise of A Legend, the story of Ezylryb, the great sage of the Ga'Hoole Tree. Another new book just came out, the first in the Horses of the Dawn series. I think of it as an equine retelling of the Spanish conquest of the New World. Visit my website, for the latest news. All my best, Kathryn

Customer Reviews

I read this book to my 5 year old son.
K. Heumann
We watch Soren and Gylfie endure the life at St. Aggies and escape with the help of an older owl.
Steven R. McEvoy
I highly recommend this for children and adults of all ages.
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Karusichan on December 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Soren is a young owl who has all of the comforts in life that a young barn owl should. He has two loving parents to take care of him and bring him food, an older brother named Kludd and a new baby sister named Eglantine to play with, and a nursemaid snake named Mrs. P. He is growing rapidly, partaking in the ancient rituals of his people (such as the first meat and bone ceremonies) and is learning about what it means to be an owl. All seems perfectly idyllic, until the fateful moment he "falls" out of his nest, rather, is pushed out of his nest by his jealous and malign older brother.

Soren cannot help but think of the tales he has heard of owlets falling from their nests, and how few ever survive the encounter. But he has little time to ponder on this as he is quickly snatched and taken to the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned owls. What happens here is beyond his comprehension; the academy is run by only a few owls, but they are all tyrants in their ways. Soren soon realizes that between the moon blinking (brain washing) sleeps and the lack of food there is something amiss at the academy. His worse fears are confirmed when he befriends a young elf owl named Gylfie who also suspects the motives of this so called "orphanage", especially when the acquire positions in the pelletorium. During this time they find out about the all important "flecks" that are being separated from the pellets, apparently these flecks are very valuable in that they have some kind of magical potency to them.

The longer they stay the more bizarre things become, especially when they learn that in addition to the fact that the academy is snatching owlets they are also stealing eggs. It is then that Soren and Gylfie decide to flee.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
In anticipation of the upcoming movie based on Kathryn Lasky's GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE series, Scholastic has re-released the first book in the series, The Capture. Being an owl fan, I of course had to give it a try! Lasky is clearly following in Richard Adams' footsteps here, what with her invented owl words and the mixture of animal behavior and very human social commentary. The Capture is less intense than Watership Down in terms of both reading level and violence level, however, and would be suited for readers who might be too young for Adams' book.

Soren, our protagonist, is growing up in a loving, comfortable barn owl family. Lasky incorporates a great deal of information about owl behavior and translates it into the customs of a culture. The owls have rituals for their first bites of different types of food, for example, and for the stages of learning to fly. Lasky is skilled at depicting the intricacies of a social structure, as is evident both here and in last year's Hannah. The rituals of Soren's family create a sense of warmth and community, even if they do sometimes focus on owls' digestive processes a little too much for me. (Kids will probably love it. Especially if they've done the "examine the owl pellet" thing in school.)

One day, though, Soren tumbles from the nest and is kidnapped by several other owls. He is taken to St. Aggie's, which claims to be a school for orphaned owls. But Soren isn't really an orphan, and this isn't really a school. It's more of a cross between a totalitarian state and a cult. Now, Soren and his new friend Gylfie need to resist brainwashing, find allies, and escape St. Aggie's. The St. Aggie's scenes are creepy enough to get under even an adult's skin, while still keeping the violence level appropriate for the target audience.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By MES on January 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
> "Guardians of Ga'Hoole, The Capture," is a fiction adventure book
by Kathryn Lasky.It is the first of the series. The next book is "The
> Soren is a barn owl who lives with his mother, father, brother
and new sister. They live in the forest kingdom of Tyto, in the southern
kingdoms of the owl world. Their life was the same as any other owl
family, until Soren fell out of their hollow and got snatched. He came to
St. Aegolius Academy for orphaned owls, where horrible owls take young
owls from their homes and have them help to lead the owl world to
them.They have them do something called Moon blinking, which hypnotizes
them so they do not escape.Soren and his friend Gylfie do not get
moonblinked. Together they try to go save the owl world from disaster.
> I think this is a wonderful book for people who love adventure
stories. The ages that people would most enjoy this book would be 8-12.
It has new excitement on every page, and you always want to know what's
going to happen next. There never seems to be a dull moment in this
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Clare Chu on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Young owlets are being snatched from their nests, eggs are disappearing. Something sinister is going on in the Owl Kingdoms. This first book in a series tells of how young Soren a barn owl, and Gylfie, a diminutive elf owl, survive the rigors and brainwashing of the evil St. Aegolius Academy. They band together with two other orphans and a blind snake in search of their families, and the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, a legend where ancient knights on silent wings went to do battle against evil and perform deeds of greatness. But first they have to fight their evil jailors who were out to attack other helpless owlets. At the end of the first book they set off "To Ga'Hoole!". And the reader is hooked and must get "The Journey" which is book #2.
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