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LUCK by Jean Craighead George


The Story of a Sandhill Crane

by Jean Craighead George & illustrated by Wendell Minor

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-008201-1
Publisher: HarperCollins

A very dim sandhill crane earns his name as he migrates from Texas to Siberia and back again. After he rescues a young sandhill crane from a plastic 6-pack ring, a little girl names him “Luck” and sets him free. Minor’s gorgeous full-bleed paintings employ a variety of perspectives as Luck makes his way across the American landscape, memorizing all the wrong landmarks in preparation for his trip back home. George, dean of children’s nature writers, is at her understated best as she matter-of-factly describes Luck’s progress: “Luck looked down on Route 70 in Kansas and memorized a pack of motorcycles.” Such details as the way crane families develop their own unique calls to keep them together are deftly folded into the narrative, as Luck meets Wise, who (true to her name) keeps him on course as they fly back to Texas. Although an author’s note more fully describing current thinking on the way migratory birds “map” their routes would be welcome, this nevertheless stands as an engaging look at a process with which most kids are probably unfamiliar. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)