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Pale Male : citizen hawk of New York City

by Janet Schulman


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780375845581]

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Publishers Weekly :

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Starred Review. Although the red-tailed hawk of Fifth Avenue has inspired at least two other picture books, this version stands out for its urbane, reportorial prose and stylish watercolors (according to jacket copy, Schulman wrote with So specifically in mind; the pair also worked together for A Bunny for All Seasons). To Schulman, Pale Male and his family, who became a cause célèbre when they built a nest on a ledge outside one of Manhattan's toniest apartment buildings, deserve to be thought of as true-blue New Yorkers—tough, resourceful, and determined to make it in the city. So seconds that emotion with deft, impressionistic brushstrokes and splashes of color reminiscent of fashion illustration; her images capture not only the cool majesty of the bird, but also the tentative half-flights of the chicks and the eclectic élan of the city that lobbied for them. The politics of the Pale Male story are confronted head-on: the privileged residents of 927 Fifth Avenue, who tried to evict Pale Male by destroying his nest, get a gentle but thorough drubbing. Formidably dressed, clutching highballs and generally scowling, they're in clear violation of Big Apple spirit (the author notes that they took advantage of a time when many conservation and wildlife laws were being relaxed by President George W. Bush's administration). By the final page, even readers who live far from Manhattan will appreciate that Pale Male's significance and stature rise well beyond those of media darling. Ages 6-12. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780375845581]

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School Library Journal :

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Starred Review. Gr 3–6—Compared to Meghan McCarthy's City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male (S & S) and Jeanette Winter's The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story (Harcourt, both 2007), this book about the first red-tailed hawk to take up residence in New York City's Central Park since its construction in 1857 is more suitable for older readers. Schulman supplies many details missing from the earlier versions, resulting in a more accurate and leisurely story. For example, children who rightly were puzzled about how apartment-building owners were able to destroy and remove Pale Male's nest will learn that they took advantage of newly relaxed rules under the Migratory Bird Treaty. So's illustrations play up the conflict between the upscale building's residents, annoyed with the mess of nesting birds and their garbage, and the growing number of New Yorkers who rallied to force them to allow the birds to nest again. The artist's evocative watercolor and colored pencil pictures perfectly capture the power and grace of the majestic raptors. From the eye-catching endpapers, showing exactly what birders see when they spot a red-tailed hawk in the sky, to the energetic city scenes, readers experience New Yorkers' excitement about Pale Male and his various mates and their offspring and understand why his story has captured the interest of so many people.—Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 0375845585]

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BookList :

From BookList, February 15, 2008, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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*Starred Review* In the fall of 1991, a red-tailed hawk flew over Central Park. Unlike most of the migratory birds that only rest briefly in New York City's urban oasis, this bird stayed to make a home. The hawk, named Pale Male by excited birdwatchers, chose a mate and built a nest on a high window ledge on one of the city's most exclusive buildings. The well-heeled residents quickly tired of stepping over Pale Male's garbage, and they removed the nest. Animal protection organizations and the bird's thousands of fans protested, and Pale Male was allowed to return to the building, eventually producing 23 chicks. Schulman's leisurely, engaging story, offers far more detail than Jeannette Winter's The Tale of Pale Male (2007), and children may have questions about specific references, from Central Park sites to the Audubon Society. The stunning watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are both whimsical and elegant, and their beautiful contrasting views of the bird soaring above the wild park and the forest of skyscrapers will ignite children's curiosity in both urban animals and the caring people who help protect them. An author's note concludes. Engberg, Gillian.

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