A bright and introspective hawklet experiments and explores to discover abilities, places and companions, always with the intention of making the most of his life.
Rufous is sure he knows the 'whole' world: his mother, a blue roof, and a nest of sticks. Then a shock! His mother must be going somewhere else to get food! Quietly commanding, she won't let her "handful of dandelion fluff" try flying. Over 18 months we see Rufous proudly grow into the world, and we follow his introspective efforts to understand it. The parallel with human intellectual development is inescapable, and adeptly achieved.
Caillou learns the difference between his imaginary fear of a wolf in the attic and reality.
Caillou is afraid there is a wolf in the attic. Dad explores the attic with him, so Caillou can see there is no wolf. When Caillou decides to play in the attic he asks his Dad to stay with him. Unfortunately, we cannot be sure if Caillou is still afraid or if he just wants his Dad to play. Parents could emphasize the latter view, and suggest Caillou is no longer afraid because he knows the truth.
Franklin's grumpy mood eases when his father suggests he write to his friend Otter.
Franklin is grumpy. He breaks or loses things and finds no pleasure playing outside. He is even is rude to his mother. Father suggests writing to Otter, who has moved away, and Franklin cheers up. We see that facing the cause of a problem helps solve it. On p15 we see that Franklin knew why he was grumpy. Bourgeois missed a chance to have Franklin introspect, recognize the problem and deal with it himself.