An idyllic scenario in the world of a spunky baby Fox (Joey), quickly morphs into a gripping adventure when he is captured by a Falcon, and escapes by undergoing a harrowing fall from the sky leaving him far from home. He makes the acquaintance of a young orphaned Bat (Ember). Over time, a deep friendship blossoms between these two very different animals, borne out of what they have in common.
The underlying allegorical message about diversity and inclusion is meaningful, uplifting, and inspiring. The theme emerges subtly and gently in ways that stir compassion while remaining relatable to young readers. The following exchange sends this message during a seminal moment:
Is different bad?” Ember asked. “No. Different is not bad. Actually, it’s pretty good!” Joey answered smiling. Ember smiled too.
These words, are spoken between the two protagonists well into the story. When they first met, Joey trembled and retreated because Ember scared him. She had sharp teeth, her eyes glowed, and she was hanging upside down! Joey had never seen a bat. He wondered: Is she a monster?
But after getting to know her, he understood that Ember’s ‘difference’ was not what mattered. They shared their sad stories of separation from their respective families, and they were now on a journey together in search Joeys’ lost family.
In the end, Joey is reunited with his loved ones. The Foxes are thrilled to see him, and extremely grateful to Ember for her help, and they tenderly ask her to join their family. Ember finally belongs again.
Additionally, the rich pen and ink illustrations are compelling and striking. These highly detailed drawings are heart-warming and expressive, personifying the characters while conveying a sense of realism.