Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Crane & Crane

In areas of high growth and construction, we often joke that the state bird is the construction crane. But in many areas of North America we can also enjoy seeing real, live cranes. (In Rockport, the only naturally migrating colony of whooping cranes spend the winters, but we also get sandhill cranes there.)

In Crane & Crane, Linda Joy Singleton compares the construction crane with the sandhill crane.  She very simply, yet clearly, conveys a number of concepts that compare the object with a living thing. This allows her to show more than just the similarities, also visually demonstrating how nature inspires technology and how mechanical things can mirror the natural word.

Using double page spreads to show both a living crane and a construction crane, Singleton encourages readers to view these similarities as a sandhill crane lifts, stretches, honks, grabs, glides, and more. On the facing page a construction crane is performing the same actions and making the same sounds. By the end of the book readers discover that while the construction crane was building a house, the bird was building a nest. A final page labels parts of both cranes.

In addition to showing young readers how both cranes operate, the book teaches verbs. Only the final word, "home," is a noun. Children will enjoy looking at the details and can be encouraged to repeat and act out some of the words, especially onomatopoeic words like "plop" and "swoosh." Watercolor and crayon illustrations by Richard Smythe are bright and light and the pictures add a lot of details to support the single words on each page.

Sandhill Cranes, Bosque Redondo, NM 
While Crane & Crane focuses solely on the sandhill crane, which are found in marshes and fields and prairies throughout much of the northern and southwestern parts of North America, there are many more species in the world with only the sandhill and whooping cranes native to North America. I do wish Singleton had included information specifically on cranes as children who like birds will want to know more about this amazing species. They are among the largest birds in North America with extremely large wingspans. They are also very vocal birds so check out websites like Cornell Lab of Ornithology that provide sound files.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author but receive no compensation for the review.