By Guest Blogger Dudley Carlson
extremely close-up drawings showing details of feathers, eyes, beak, and talons as they might be viewed through binoculars, as well as hawk's-eye views of prey and of the young girls watching with binoculars while the hawk hunts and is mobbed by crows. Floca's illustrations are both beautiful and accurate, and the text indicates the challenge faced by a hunting parent who spends all day in search of one meal for his young.
In addition, this text is matter of fact: food is essential, and predators must kill to eat. Without sensationalizing it, Floca makes us gasp as the hawk reaches out and misses, and then fear for the chipmunk that narrowly escapes and the squirrel that doesn't. The faces of both squirrel and child indicate a sadness that the squirrel must be caught, but also a degree of understanding that this is the cycle of life.
A page of back matter (beautifully shaded to match the hawk's rust-colored tail) gives additional details about raptors, their habits, and resources for parents or older children. Hawk Rising is a beautiful and accessible picture book for very young children. It is also an opening for parents to discuss with their children the realities of life and death in nature, and their parallels in our own lives.
SFBBO member Dudley Carlson, a biologist’s daughter, grew up in a family of birders and was Manager of Youth Services at Princeton (NJ) Public Library for 25 years. She believes that if children enjoy learning about birds and understand how important they are to our environment, then birds, nature and people will have a better chance at a healthy future.
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