Hook

Overview

A young eagle learns to soar in Caldecott-winner Ed Young's newest work.

With beautiful, sweeping artwork and spare, lyrical text, Ed Young tells the story of a boy who finds an egg and gives it to a flock of chickens. When the egg hatches not a chick but an eaglet, the hens, the roosters, and the boy all band together to help the young bird fly. In this lovely story about friendship and dedication, the eaglet perseveres and leaves behind the ...

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Overview

A young eagle learns to soar in Caldecott-winner Ed Young's newest work.

With beautiful, sweeping artwork and spare, lyrical text, Ed Young tells the story of a boy who finds an egg and gives it to a flock of chickens. When the egg hatches not a chick but an eaglet, the hens, the roosters, and the boy all band together to help the young bird fly. In this lovely story about friendship and dedication, the eaglet perseveres and leaves behind the dusty earth for endless pastel skies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Adults and children alike will savor the process.”—Christian Science Monitor

“A powerful blend of language,imagery and emotion.” —Starred, Publishers Weekly

“Young’s freely sketched figures, rendered in soft, evanescent strokes, not only tell the story but suggest ideas that transcend the simple yet vital events.” —Starred, Horn Book

“Vibrant, minimal chalk drawings—hardly more than sketches, but glorious ones—utilize shifting perspectives to enhance the sky’s imposing vastness . . . . Arresting and absorbing, this tale soars.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“This stirring story will remind readers of the Ugly Duckling, but its timeless message of determination reaches far past the fairytale genre.” Starred, Booklist

“Young's suggestive dusky views are by turns confusing, comical, and striking. Along with the minimal narrative, they leave space for readers to ponder and question. They offer nice opportunities for shared reading and, of course, special moments of recognition for readers familiar with Andersen's tale.”—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

Caldecott Medal-winner Young's enchanting story about an orphaned bald eagle discovered by a Native American boy is set against a vast landscape of canyon, mountain and spruce, as spare as the author's text ("An abandoned egg. A young boy"). The raptor ("a strange chick") is hatched and raised by the boy's hen, who calls him Hook after his curved yellow beak. She quickly perceives his true nature-"You are not meant for earth," she tells him. Young's pastels, a series of sketches on speckled burnt sienna paper, glow with life. The judicious use of detail is highly effective, and the birds possess an uncanny accuracy. Hook can't work out how to fly, so under a blackened predawn sky the boy takes him to the canyon. The mountains, stained blue in the dawn, look on as Hook is launched from the canyon precipice. Against a shimmering mountain blur, the young eagle plummets-then, in triumph, rights himself and soars. A powerful blend of language,imagery and emotion. Ages 2-6. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
An abandoned egg, tan and speckled, fills the first page of this almost textless story of love, persistence, and final triumph. A young Native American boy finds the egg and places it with the other eggs of a hen, who is puzzled when the strange chick hatches. Because of his nose, they call the chick Hook. As he grows, they decide, "You are not meant for earth," but for a higher place. Put on a cliff, however, Hook just falls. The mother hen asks the boy to take Hook to an even higher place for "another try." But there is another fall. Finally they trek out to the great canyon. There at last Hook catches the air with his wings. "And rises to where he belongs… For he wasn't meant for earth." Large pages are saturated with a warm tan hue, serving as background for the scenes that mainly depict the characters of this strangely spiritual tale. The red hen contrasts dramatically with the dark Hook, while the boy's skin blends with the background. Young uses broad, textured areas of color, with bright blue here and there as highlights to accentuate a piece of theatrical action. What appear to be pastels are emotionally effective in suggesting the Southwest environment as well as Hook's maturing feathered body. The final scenes of successful flight are visually compelling. The spiritual meaning here is open to speculation. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

Young's recasting of "The Ugly Duckling" begins with an abandoned egg discovered by a Native American boy who then places it with a sitting hen. Terse lines of text and spare pastel drawings follow the chicken's astonishment over her ungainly chick. "A hook nose?/Let's call him Hook." When he kicks up a dusty storm and contorts his body to look back at her, she is prophetic in her annoyance: "You are not meant for earth." Young sketches the animals in broad strokes, the dark tones of the strange youngster in bold contrast with the orange hen and her chicks; all are shadowed in strokes of blue and accented in bits of yellow. The animals are featured on warm brown pages with no background. Only in scenes where the boy appears are there scratchy forms suggesting background setting. Most of the story features Hook's abysmal efforts at flight. Finally, the boy comes once more to the rescue, carrying the bird first to the top of his pueblo home and finally far off to the ledge of a great canyon. "He spreads his wings,/catching a gust of air./And rises to where he belongs.../For he wasn't meant for earth." Hook's satisfying rise reveals him as a handsome eagle, his soaring figure last viewed from the ground by the family of chickens. Young's suggestive dusky views are by turns confusing, comical, and striking. Along with the minimal narrative, they leave space for readers to ponder and question. They offer nice opportunities for shared reading and, of course, special moments of recognition for readers familiar with Andersen's tale.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

Kirkus Reviews
An unusual bird soars through striking art and powerful imagery. A boy gives a forsaken egg to a nearby hen, who gladly mothers her fosterling. When hatched, the bird's hooked beak inspires his name, and his matted feathers and outstretched claws display his youthful strength. Although numerous flying attempts prove futile, the mighty bird eventually spreads his wings in a glorious double-page spread, "for he was not meant for earth." Pacing builds through each page turn, taut phrases increasing intensity. "He pushes off, but falls to earth . . . . / An even higher place. / Another try. / Another fall." The prevalent red-dirt background conveys the richness of the natural world and the warmth of both the Pueblo setting and Hook's adoptive family. Vibrant, minimal chalk drawings-hardly more than sketches, but glorious ones-utilize shifting perspectives to enhance the sky's imposing vastness. Blue light transcends as the bird struggles for flight, finally soaring against the magnificent canyon. The child's face is often hidden from view, with the focus on the birds' transformative expressions. Arresting and absorbing, this tale soars. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596433632
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 2 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Caldecott Medalist Ed Young is the illustrator of over eighty books for children, seventeen of which he has also written. He finds inspiration for his work in the philosophy of Chinese painting.

“A Chinese painting is often accompanied by words,” explains Young. “They are complementary. There are things that words do that pictures never can, and likewise, there are images that words can never describe.”

Born in Tientsin, China, Ed Young grew up in Shanghai and later moved to Hong Kong. As a young man, he came to the United States on a student visa to study architecture but turned instead to his love of art.

Young began his career as a commercial artist in advertising and found himself looking for something more expansive, expressive, and timeless. He discovered all this, and more, in children’s books.

The subject and style of each story provide Young with the initial inspiration for his art and with the motivation for design, sequence, and pace. Accuracy in research is essential to his work, too – whether he is illustrating fantasy, folk tale, or fact. According to Young, a strong foundation of credibility must be established in order to create new and exciting images. Through such images, he hopes to capture his readers and ultimately expand their awareness.

Young’s quest for challenge and growth are central in his role as illustrator. “Before I am involved with a project I must be moved, and as I try something exciting, I grow. It is my purpose to stimulate growth in the reader as an active participant as well,” Young explains. “I feel the story has to be exciting, and a moving experience for a child.”

A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Young has since taught at the Pratt Institute, Yale University, Naropa Institute, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. In 1990, his book Lon Po Po was awarded the Caldecott Medal. He has also received two Caldecott Honors – for The Emperor and the Kite and Seven Blind Mice – and was twice nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the highest international recognition given to children's book authors and illustrators who have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.

Young lives in Westchester County, New York, with his two daughters. His recent books for Neal Porter Books / Roaring Brook Press include Twenty Heartbeats, written by Dennis Haseley, and Hook, published in Spring, 2009.

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