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Children's Fiction Prehistory

Cuckoo's Flight

by (author) Wendy Orr

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2021
Prehistory, Special Needs, Horses, Greek & Roman
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 6


A new gripping Bronze Age story from Wendy Orr, internationally acclaimed author of Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance

Clio can’t remember a time when she didn’t share a bond with the mare Grey Girl. On the whole island of Crete, she and her Trojan-born father are the only people who raise and ride horses—and she couldn’t live without it. Between the freedom of the pasture and the safety of her grandmother Leira’s pottery studio, Clio has always had everything she needed.

Then an accident stole Clio’s ability to ride, or even to walk without a crutch. The weather changed and summers grew drier. Now raiders are preying on nearby towns. As anxiety builds, a terrible pronouncement is issued by the palace: at the spring festival, a girl between the ages of twelve and fourteen will be chosen to save the town from disaster. She will be sacrificed as an offering to the mother goddess.

In Cuckoo’s Flight, internationally bestselling author Wendy Orr returns to the Bronze-Age setting of her critically acclaimed novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. With her signature blend of striking prose and emotionally taut verse, she immerses readers in a thrilling coming-of-age story as Clio battles the political power of the palace and her own feelings of inadequacy to save her town, her horses, and perhaps even herself.


About the author


Award-winning author Wendy Orr was born in Edmonton, Alberta. The daughter of an Air Force pilot, she has since lived around the world, including several years in Colorado, France, and England. She now lives in Melbourne, Australia, but returns to North America yearly to visit her family. Wendy's many books for children have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Prominent among them is Nim's Island, which was made into the 2008 film of the same name; a 2013 sequel, Return to Nim's Island, was loosely based on Orr's book Nim at Sea. Orr's 2017 novel Dragonfly Song is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Books selection, and a finalist for the prestigious TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, among others. Its 2018 companion Swallow’s Dance earned three starred reviews and was a USBBY Outstanding International Book and a School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book.


Wendy Orr's profile page


  • Commended, CBCA “Notable Book of The Year” Selection
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild selection

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Cuckoo's Flight

A 2021 Junior Library Guild selection

2022 CBCA “Notable Book of The Year” Selection

“Orr mixes prose and poetry masterfully throughout the tale. The story is fast paced but has moments of contemplation, and Orr’s skill as a writer show, especially in her poetry….Fans of historical fiction, or even horse stories, will appreciate this fast-paced tale.”—School Library Journal

“[Cuckoo’s Flight] slides effortlessly between prose and poetry….Most impressive is Orr’s ability to translate a worldview vastly different from our own. Memorable.”—Kirkus Reviews

Cuckoo’s Flight is an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat, epic tale while still incorporating the beautiful poetry of Orr’s first two books. Clio is a unique heroine fighting physical and emotional challenges, and proving that perseverance, bravery and ingenuity will always save the day….Orr has done it again, and fans of Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance will be pleased with how this final book wraps up the series. Highly Recommended.”—Canadian Review of Materials

“The setting of ancient Crete vibrantly resonates with the acute senses of a young girl coming of age in a turbulent time....a wonderful, immersive experience.”—Youth Services Book Review

“This dynamic adventure is totally immersive….If you want to explore the Bronze Age, let Wendy Orr be your guide.”—Fresh Fiction

“Wendy Orr skillfully weaves a story that teaches as well as entertains…Cuckoo’s Flight employs a writing style which alternates prose and narrative poetry. As such, it would be an excellent method of introducing diversity in narrative techniques. The title is highly recommended for readers who are entertained by historical fiction and adventure stories with unexpected endings.”—Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“A story of family, faith, and friendship told in elegant, jewel-bright prose with neither a wasted word nor yet too few, Cuckoo’s Flight is excellent. It led me to the author’s other novels, which are also a delight to read.”—Historical Novel Society

“This is a beautifully written story, the words just flow magically across the page and before you know it you've finished the book.”—Georgia H. (NetGalley)

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