An absorbing reminder that we need never look far to see wild, beautiful nature.

HAWK RISING

A male red-tailed hawk leaves a nest full of hatchlings to scout a suburban neighborhood for prey.

Similar in tone, setting, and general course to Gianferrari’s Coyote Moon, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (2016), the hawk’s hunt extends from sunrise to twilight as stretches of “kiting” or “perch-hunting” from atop a utility pole are punctuated by sudden—and, twice, unsuccessful—dives at small creatures, with a mobbing by crows between. Though subject to obtrusively poetic flights (“Dandelions ripple. / Oaks tremble. / Father Hawk perches / and searches”; and, more obscurely, two references to “Mars” rising “red in the sky”), the terse narrative vividly captures both the weary vigil’s length and its abrupt moments of mortal drama. Also, even though the text positions readers as “you,” one of a pair of brown-skinned siblings who watch from their porch and yard, the narrative is free of anthropomorphic language. Alternating the perspective from ground level to high overhead, Floca depicts the majestic raptor with painterly magnificence, giving its variegated plumage a soft, even shaggy look that renders the climactic flashes of its massive black talons positively electrifying. The hunt finally comes to a decisive but gore-free culmination with the hawk “grabbing” a squirrel and winging off to the nearby nest. The author closes with two pages of additional facts and leads to further information.

An absorbing reminder that we need never look far to see wild, beautiful nature. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-096-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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