High As A Hawk

High As A Hawk

4.0 1
by T. A. Barron, Ted Lewin

Eight-year-old Harriet is determined to climb to the top of Longs Peak in Colorado. To get there, she'll have to overcome steep slopes, a freezing blizzard, and what her wise trail guide calls "surprises." But she simply must try&150both for herself and for the mother she has lost. If she succeeds, she will spread her wings and fly . . . high as a hawk.

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Eight-year-old Harriet is determined to climb to the top of Longs Peak in Colorado. To get there, she'll have to overcome steep slopes, a freezing blizzard, and what her wise trail guide calls "surprises." But she simply must try&150both for herself and for the mother she has lost. If she succeeds, she will spread her wings and fly . . . high as a hawk.

Based on the historic 1905 ascent by the youngest person ever to climb Longs Peak, the highest mountain in Colorado, this book combines T. A. Barron's powerful, poetic writing with Ted Lewin's magnificent, evocative paintings. Together, they make a truly inspiring journey.

An author's note describes how the ascent encouraged guide Enos Mills to pursue his dream of creating the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
Lewin's magnificent watercolors always enhance a story, but this tale is a winner in its own right.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Barron (The Lost Years of Merlin) spins a moment of Colorado history into a dramatic and inspirational picture book about a girl's efforts to scale that state's Longs Peak in 1905. As the book opens, eight-year-old Harriet Peters (whose name is revealed in an author's note) accompanies her father on a climbing trip led by mountain guide Enos Mills. The Peters's goal: to reach the 14,255-foot summit of Longs Peak as a promise to Harriet's mother, who died unexpectedly, and who had dreamed of making the climb herself. As the air thins, Mr. Peters experiences difficulties and must abandon the trek, but Harriet and Mills keep on through brambles, blisters and a blizzard until they joyfully reach the summit-Harriet being the youngest person ever to do so. Barron emphasizes the danger, wonder and excitement of such an endeavor with descriptive phrasing (" 'Tis a rough climb for a wee lass," Mills says) and a suspenseful pace. Lewin's (Peppe the Lamplighter) intricately detailed watercolors celebrate the natural beauty of this rugged landscape via crisp images of trees, shrubs, wildflowers and the powerful face of a great bull elk. A striking, nearly photo-realistic spread depicting an abundance of boulders that seem to shimmer in the sun ranks among many memorable scenes, and a close-up of Harriet reveals her determination. The ending author's note provides further information on Mills, who went on to found Rocky Mountain National Park. Ages 5-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sometimes it takes a death to inspire us to greatness. As bonneted eight-year-old Harriet misses her mom, she triumphantly conquers pain and doubt to fulfill a dream to reach the summit of Long's Peak. The story is based on an historic climb in 1905 when Harriet Peters, the youngest person ever to climb Long's Peak, and Enos Mills, a world famous guide, reached the top at 14,255 feet. Enos Mills campaigned steadfastly against mining interests to preserve this spectacular place and ten years after this, his favorite climb, it became the Rocky Mountain National Park. With this wise, strong, Scotsman, Harriet "scrambled up a rocky ridge, encountered boulders—hundreds of them, and ...snow up to my knees" to reach the top. Ted Lewin's watercolors are magical. He uses light to capture the suspense and beauty of the climb. He paints the mystery and fear of the dark forest and the surprise of the "bugling sound" of a "great bull elk bound(ing) out of the trees." The joy of success explodes in the light blue of the sky, the upturned arms and the soaring hawk on the last page. Barron's prose is inspirational as he tells of the child heroine and wonders about her impact on Mills. His story stirs a desire to climb and see this great work of Mother Nature so one can more than imagine the "string of lakes gleaming like a blue necklace" from the summit, to feel As High as a Hawk. 2004, Philomel, Ages 5 to 7.
—Sue Stefurak
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In 1905, eight-year-old Harriet Peters became the youngest climber ever to reach the summit of Longs Peak in Colorado. Guided by Enos Mills, the man later responsible for the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park, spunky Harriet braved the elements to reach the top of the mountain, spurred on by the memory of her mother who died before realizing her dream of completing the climb. This poignant tale, based on a true story, is retold in lyrical language and accompanied by dazzling watercolors. Known for his realistic landscapes, Lewin does an excellent job of depicting the child's struggle against nature. The climb begins before dawn; the accompanying illustrations reveal a deep blue forest lit with touches of orange on the riders' faces and horses' manes, reflecting the rising sun. After daybreak, the paintings change from the warm, clear light of sun-dappled meadows to the cool, icy blue of a sudden snowstorm as the party ascends the mountain. Throughout, luminous highlights mold the characters' faces in a chiaroscuro reminiscent of the work of Caravaggio. To round out the tale, Barron's endnotes identify his primary sources and include a photo of Peters taken the day of the climb, revealing Lewin's faithful reproduction of her costume. With its dramatic artwork, this gripping saga is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Enos Mills fought hard to make a national park of the majestic mountains like Longs Peak in Colorado. In 1905, he was guide to eight-year-old Harriet Peters, who became the youngest person to reach Longs Peak's 14,255-foot summit. Her dramatic story is told in the first person, captured by Lewin's equally dramatic and splendid watercolors. Harriet wanted to reach the summit to honor her dead mother, who had longed to climb it. Lewin is a master of light and dark, wide vistas and intimate close-ups. We see every exquisite detail of tree and mountain, elk and snow. Sturdy Harriet describes the "surprises" along the way of weather and the elements, but the last image shows her with arms outspread like the hawk almost beside her. Harriet's unusual (to us) costume of leggings, skirt, and puffy bonnet is documented in the photograph of her and Mills that's included in the author's note. A fine, unusual, and inspiring read. (Picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.64(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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High as a Hawk 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever notice how much more inspiring true life stories are as opposed to fiction, no matter how dramatic or expansively imagined? This story of Harriet Peters, the youngest person to ever climb Longs Peak, should hearten both young readers and adults. Ted Lewin's brilliant double page watercolor illustrations beautifully capture Colorado's mountainous terrain. His double-page portrait of 8-year-old Harriet is especially compelling. In 1905 young Harriet set off with her father and mountain guide Enos Mills determined to fulfill her mother's dream of scaling Longs Peak. She remembers last year, before her mother died, when she and her mother had climbed a 'small hill' in the Ozarks. It was then that she learned that climbing Longs Peak was her mother's dream and that her father was going to take her there for her next birthday. But now her mother was gone and Harriet wanted to honor her memory by making the climb. The trio had not gone very far when her father wasn't able to continue - the altitude was too much for him. Harriet asked if she could go ahead with Mr. Mills. The reply was, 'Spread your wings, girl. For us all.' Spread her wings she did. She climbed on despite the pain in her heels, despite a giant bull elk in her path, a giant blister on her foot, and tumbling boulders which forced them to slip and slide. She finally reached the summit. And, when asked how she felt her reply was 'High as a Hawk.' - Gail Cooke