In the beginning, if you look closely, Hawk Rising shows two birds sitting in a tree near a house. The next two pages are filled to overflowing with the Red-tailed Hawk family sitting in their nest. As the story progresses, Gianferrari and Floca tell and illustrate the ways that a girl and her younger sister rising in the morning mimic the birds awakening for the day. Stretching, waiting for breakfast...and we then see Father Hawk searching for breakfast for his chicks. "He leans--then dives." Some prey is safe, shielded by branches. Others drive the hawk away. Finally, towards the end of day, Father Hawk grabs a squirrel and, back in the nest, "Chicks screech and jostle, no longer waiting." Everyone has eaten and is safe in bed for the night, awaiting the next day.
The sparse, poetic text is very well complemented by Caldecott-winner Brian Floca's intricate art. Notice how his watercolors progress from the dark night to the brightness of day and then subtly fade back to darkness. His watercolor techniques provide a lot of detail and realism to the hawk's feathers and talons. Both the text and the illustrations invite reading aloud and re-reading, savoring the beauty of these birds.
(I need to add that Brian is a native Texan, although he lives in New York. I had the pleasure of working with him when he created the art for the Texas State Library's Summer Reading Program. I doubt that I would ever find fault with his art. If you are not familiar with his other works, check them out!)
|(Art copyright Brian Floca)|
While Hawk Rising focuses on the Red-tailed Hawk, and the last two pages offer facts about the species, much of the information is transferable to other raptors. The suggested readings include books on other raptors and links for websites, including Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Red-tailed Hawk cam. (As of the end of May there are chicks in the nest that can be viewed on the cam, along with a narrative about what the birds are doing.) Gianferrari is also the author of other great nature books, including a companion volume, Coyote Moon, which explores the nocturnal hunting habits of another urban critter and is definitely worth reading.
|Red-tailed Hawk (image used |
under license from Creative Commons)
I also do seem to be fascinated by hawks. For additional books, see my blog posts H is for Hawk and A Hawk in the Castle.
FTC Disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher and/or author. I receive no compensation or benefit for reviewing this book.