Paisano, the Roadrunner

Paisano, the Roadrunner

by Jennifer Owings Dewey, Jennifer Dewey

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
When a roadrunner moved into Dewey's yard, she observed him and in due time he acquired a mate. Dewey uses her telling to give readers information about the bird couple, its food and habits, and habitat. (She strangely omits Arizona as a roadrunner location but notes the upper and lower Sonoran Desert, which encompasses that state, California, New Mexico¾Dewey's homeplace, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Utah, and Oklahoma). When one of the roadrunner eggs hatches out a male who wants to hang around, Dewey names him Paisano and lets him adopt her. Dewey's strength is in her ability to interest us in the personalities of an animal, as she did for an earlier and now out-of-print book about her "pet" crow. While the text isn't organized as nonfiction but more as an informational chapter book, the end matter features a list of facts and an index to support bird research. The many close-up photographs get the job done but none reveal Dewey. The author's watercolor and colored pencil drawings are beautiful and the roadrunner silhouette runs across the bottom pages, slowly moving from left to right as readers move through the text. It's a personal and warm look at an often misunderstood meat-eater and a nice addition to the bird book shelf. 2002, Millbrook,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Dewey will delight young audiences with her account of her backyard experiences with a family of roadrunners. The entertaining and humorous text, accompanied by bold photography and playful illustrations, describes the naturalist's growing relationship and experiences with these animal neighbors. Combining the author's sketches with Meinzer's photographs provides a lively mix of diary and story, compelling youngsters to read every word, simultaneously visualizing the adventure of having a wild creature accept and love a human being. The accessable index and "Useful Facts" section containing tidbits of anatomical, folkloric, environmental, and behavioral information is not enough for reports, but gives a glimpse into these unique animals. The sounds, sights, and smells described in Dewey's narrative are what make Paisano so valuable and enjoyable.-Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With good humor and a keen eye for detail, Dewey (Finding Your Way, not reviewed, etc.) records another close encounter with denizens of the natural world-here, a family of roadrunners. It all begins when the male, later dubbed "Hamlet," dashes up a wall near the author's New Mexico home, scouting a nesting site-"Its stance, like its appearance, was contradictory: steady and uncertain, a cross between a cocky magpie and a nervous chicken." Soon, Hamlet's mate "Edith" appears, and sometime after, a quartet of chicks, one of whom, Paisano (a Southwestern cognate for "roadrunner"), takes to following Dewey around, even into the house. To the author's own graceful, evocative drawings Meinzer and three other photographers add crisp color shots of these ungainly, bedraggled-looking birds going about the business of scratching out a living with alert efficiency. Paisano eventually finds a mate and, like his parents before him, moves on, leaving both a writer and a host of readers to be beguiled by these unique birds. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.23(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.41(d)
1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

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