FALCONS NEST ON SKYSCRAPERS

A fine entry in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series that introduces readers to the peregrine falcon, its history, habits, and its near-deadly encounter with DDT. Jenkins (A Nest Full of Eggs, 1995, not reviewed) starts her story with a profile of the falcon's hunting skills and draws readers in by noting that the falcon stoops (dives) at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour toward its target (and never misses). After offering background on the DDT episode (in the 1950s, peregrines ate poisoned insects and then laid eggs with shells so thin they cracked under the weight of the nesting mother), Jenkins chronicles the successful efforts to bring the peregrine back from the brink of extinction with the aid of researchers such as those at the Hawk Barn laboratory. One of their banded birds, Scarlett, took up roost on the 33rd floor of a Baltimore office building (where Jenkins was working) and waited five years for a mate to appear. When he finally showed up, their clutch of eggs produced the first wild peregrine eyases in the eastern US in over 30 years. Lloyd's vivid, highly realistic watercolors enhance the lucid, lively text; no one should be surprised if readers finish this book and ask for a lift to one of the bird-watching venues listed in the back. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 31, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-021104-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1996

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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