Arrowhawk

Arrowhawk

by Lola M. Schaefer, Gabi Swiatkowska
     
 

Familiar hands tossed him gently into the winter air. Hawk flapped his wings and skimmed the earth. Then he beat his wings harder, rose, and flew over the trees. And straight as an arrow, Hawk soared into the wild.

The story of an injured red-tailed hawk's survival and freedom

A hungry red-tailed hawk sits near a fence post and devours his catch.

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Overview

Familiar hands tossed him gently into the winter air. Hawk flapped his wings and skimmed the earth. Then he beat his wings harder, rose, and flew over the trees. And straight as an arrow, Hawk soared into the wild.

The story of an injured red-tailed hawk's survival and freedom

A hungry red-tailed hawk sits near a fence post and devours his catch. Out of nowhere a poacher's arrow pierces his body, seriously injuring him and leaving him to fend for himself.

This is the courageous true story of Arrowhawk-an endangered bird of prey who, with sheer determination and will, survives eight weeks in the wild with a poacher's arrow through his thigh and tail. Stunning illustrations capture his remarkable journey from peril and rescue to eventual freedom.

Arrowhawk is a 2005 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Based on a true story and told in unemotional prose illustrated with beautiful, airy acrylic paintings, this will instill appreciation for the beauty of birds of prey and their role in nature." —Kirkus Reviews, starred

"Arrowhawk is a dramatic, painful tale of nature with a fortunate upbeat ending." —Sacramento Bee

"Swiatkowska's rich acrylics have beautiful soft edges and fine detail."—Booklist

"Schaefer does this the hard and admirable way. She tells it from the point of view of the bird with no cheap tricks. No anthropomorphism. No bird-with-human-feelings. . . .Arrowhawk is simply a dignified and powerful creature." —San Diego Union Tribune

"Throughout the illustrations, as in the text, Hawk's wild and defiant persona dominates, neither softened nor anthropomorphized. The result is a tale of courage and compassion, made compelling by its narrow focus." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Children's Literature
On the title page a red-tailed hawk spreads his wings over woodland, then we see him soaring above a field and swooping down to catch a mouse. In the next instant, an arrow twangs through the air and lodges in his thigh and tail. So begins the story (based on real events) of the hawk's struggle to survive despite the arrow, his rescue, recovery, and ultimate return to the wild. The graphic presentation of his injury and pain may be upsetting to tender sensibilities; parents and teachers need to know their readers or listeners. But for those who stay with it, the tale is instructive and rewarding, even inspiring. After the author and her students followed this story in the news, she wanted to retell it for children; her text, describing only what the hawk does, is both painful and poetic. Swiatkowska, an artist from Poland, has contributed pictures full of grace and movement, revealing the beauty, dignity, and courage of the hawk. Her acrylic paintings in burnt siennas, browns, and icy blues sweep across the pages, showing the hawk in all his splendor and suffering until he again curves above a field, free of the arrow, searching for prey. We never see his rescuers, but two informative pages tell of the bird's discovery and eventual treatment at a raptor center and describe the dangers faced by wild birds of prey, thus helping teachers and parents to answer questions that will surely be prompted by this affecting tale. 2004, Holt, Ages 4 to 8.
—Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-A moving story about a young hawk that is shot through the leg and tail by an arrow and struggles to survive. Despite his desperate attempts, Hawk fails to remove the arrow, but is able to keep the wound clean and manages to fly and hunt as his flesh heals. However, when the shaft gets caught in a tree, his injuries worsen, and finally, starving, he flies into a net and is trapped by wildlife rehabilitators. Cared for by humans who remain offstage, Hawk grows healthy and strong. It is only at his release that a voice is heard, "You survived, Arrowhawk. Fly home." Gorgeous paintings fill the pages, lending mood, light, and information while avoiding depictions of gory wounds or prey. An afterword includes a photograph of the red-tailed that inspired the book; describes his capture, treatment, and release; and discusses hawks and other raptors and how they are faring in their attempts to cohabitate with humans. Unusual in its narration from the wild animal's point of view, this is an important and dramatic tale that should be widely shared with children. Pair it with Suzie Gilbert's Hawk Hill (Chronicle, 1996; o.p.) and Jacqueline Briggs Martin's Washing the Willow Tree Loon (Atheneum, 1995), which focus more on wildlife rehabilitators.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A poacher's arrow pierces a hawk and he almost starves-until he's rescued by humans and survives. The author and artist manage to depict the details of the raptor killing mice and snakes for food-and when he breaks his leg trying to free himself from being wedged in a tree-without being gory or gruesome. The full-page artwork realistically and poetically captures the feathery features and never shows the humans, which effectively retains the hawk's perspective. Tightly bound, a few of the double spreads dip into the gutter but the aerial views and atmospheric backgrounds make this ecology lesson an effective nonfiction drama enveloped in a narrative. Two pages of back matter relate the true account of the real Arrowhawk with a photo showing the arrow through him along with information on red-tailed hawks. Based on a true story and told in unemotional prose illustrated with beautiful, airy acrylic paintings, this will instill an appreciation for the beauty of birds of prey and their role in nature. (Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805063714
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
05/01/2004
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
976,783
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.39(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

LOLA M. SCHAEFER is the author of several acclaimed books for children, including This Is the Sunflower and This Is the Rain. In 1997, she and her fourth-grade students followed the Michigan and Indiana news releases of a red-tailed hawk injured by a poacher's arrow. Impassioned by the bird's will to survive, Ms. Schaefer was determined to share his amazing story with children. She lives with her family in Garrett, Indiana.

GABI SWIATKOWSKA is the illustrator of My Name Is Yoon and Hannah's Bookmobile Christmas, which Booklist praised as "beautiful" and "atmospheric." A freelance artist who studied painting at the Liceum of Art in Bielsko, Poland, and a former preschool teacher, Ms. Swiatkowska lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

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