When Jack Daw, a bird-loving kid if ever there was one, visits the wildlife park, he sees an ostrich egg about to be fed to a snake, and he knows he has to act. He rescues the egg and takes it home to his family's farm, where he manages to persuade the geese to adopt it. When Oliver — as Jack names the egg in anticipation of the ostrich's arrival — finally hatches, his goose mother is a little surprised, but she and the other animals (and people) take it in stride. Oliver is accepted as one of the family, even though he can't swim (for lack of webbed feet) and has to be careful not to squash the other goslings. Still, by the age of two, Oliver is nine feet tall, and Jack realizes that he just doesn't fit in anymore — no pun intended. When Jack returns Oliver to the wildlife park, Oliver sees other ostriches for the first time and finally understands who he is. As he has done in his other animal fantasies, including the beloved Babe, the Gallant Pig, Dick King-Smith captures perfectly the voices that animals might have if we could hear them talk. His animal and human characters are vivid and interesting, and the humor of this ugly duckling variant is balanced with realistic emotions to give the story more weight. Readers who are encountering King-Smith's work for the first time will join the ranks of his many fans after reading this enjoyable novel.