The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story

The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story

by Jeanette Winter
     
 

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Here is the incredible true story of a Red-tailed Hawk that makes himself at home in the most unlikely of places--atop a high-rise apartment building in New York City. Named Pale Male by his many fans, this majestic bird not only endures in this urban environment, he thrives. But when the residents have Pale Male's nest removed from their

Overview

Here is the incredible true story of a Red-tailed Hawk that makes himself at home in the most unlikely of places--atop a high-rise apartment building in New York City. Named Pale Male by his many fans, this majestic bird not only endures in this urban environment, he thrives. But when the residents have Pale Male's nest removed from their building, a historic battle--and triumph--ensues, uniting bird lovers everywhere.
     With Jeanette Winter's beloved folk art-inspired illustrations and soulful insight into the spirit of this beautiful hawk, this is a book that will delight nature enthusiasts of all ages.     Includes an author's note.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Winter's (The Librarian of Basra) fluid, accessible narrative relays the true tale of two Red-tailed hawks that took up residence at the top of a Manhattan apartment building. Excited bird-watchers observe from the street as Pale Male and his mate, Lola, diligently build their nest behind spikes designed to keep pigeons away. Pale Male brings mother-to-be Lola mice and birds to eat, and the residents of the Fifth Avenue apartment below are hardly happy when the scraps land on their balcony. After hawk chicks hatch in the spring, they eventually learn to fly and to hunt on their own; they and their parents become local celebrities. Alas, "the apartment people," fed up with falling bones, surreptitiously arrange to have the hawks' nest (its sticks and twigs weigh 400 pounds) removed, inciting a protest ("Ah, victory!/ The watchers convince the apartment people/ to let the hawks build a new nest"). The tone of the tale breezily engages readers ("Will they fall?," asks the narrative as the fledglings attempt their first flight), who will be tickled to learn from a concluding note that the hawks—as of spring 2006—were still living in their outdoor penthouse. Winter's trademark spare, folk-art illustrations feature a pleasingly muted palette, befitting both the bird heroes and the cityscape. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
The red-tailed hawk hero of this true story flies over New York City's Central Park, where he finds his mate. Together they build a nest on top of a window ledge with a carving of two angels. Bird-watchers name them Pale Male and Lola. Their eggs hatch into fledglings that learn to fly and hunt. They become famous in the city. But the people in the apartment house with the ledge don't like the mess they create, and arrange to dismantle the nest. Protesting bird-watchers finally persuade the apartment dwellers to allow a new nest. Winter's palette of muted, flatly applied acrylics give the visual story a fairy-tale feeling. The lilac apartment house, the pastel cityscapes, the varying page colors that match the dominant hues of the superimposed scenes all make for a most decorative form of visual storytelling. But there is a consistent fierce expression in the hawks' eyes, even when building their nest, that overrides the sweetness. There remains a majestic sense of mystery relating to our natural world. A final note fills in the facts of the story up until 2006.
School Library Journal

Gr 1–5
Winter documents the controversy surrounding New York City's famous red-tailed hawk. When Pale Male and his mate built a nest high on the side of a Fifth Avenue apartment building, they attracted the attention of local bird-watchers. The humans celebrated when baby hawks hatched, grew, and learned to fly. However, some residents complained about bird droppings and animal remains falling from the hawks' living space. In December 2004, the nest was removed, generating local protests and national media attention. Eventually, the nesting spot was restored. As Winter indicates in an author's note, Pale Male has fathered more than 20 chicks with a number of mates since 1993. Winter's illustrations subtly bring out the humor of the situation. While earthbound humans stare up at the birds, applaud the chicks' hatching, and wave signs to protest the nest's removal, the redtails carry on with their lives above the fray. Their inscrutable expressions vary little as they remain intent on hunting yet another mouse or small bird. Only the pink, heart-shaped clouds in the sky behind their courtship flight hint at possible avian emotion. The book should increase readers' awareness of these common predators in their surroundings, no matter where they live. Those who want to learn more facts about the species might consult Doug Wechsler's Red-Tailed Hawks (Rosen, 2001). Barbara Bash introduces a number of other avian city dwellers in Urban Roosts (Little, Brown, 1992).
—Kathy PiehlCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Winter's luminous, hieratic style, with its velvety rich color and carefully shaped geometry, is eminently suited for the now-famous story of Pale Male, the Red-tailed Hawk who lives in New York City. She chronicles, in unadorned but lucid language, how Pale Male courted Lola, their building of a nest above the angel pediment of a Fifth Avenue building, and the response of the some of the residents to the rain of bones and feathers that accompanied the hawk family's mealtimes. She captures perfectly the fascination of the city with these birds, their meshing of their hunting habitat with what the city offers and the accommodation of city life to wildlife. Each page holds an image of framed pattern and light: The rest of the page carries text below on a background color picked up from the painting. Her style is iconic rather than realistic (the urban clouds in rosy heart shapes as the hawks soar together are but one example of their charm) but young readers will get it right away, and upon repeated, joyous readings. (author's note) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547545530
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/01/2007
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,240,452
Lexile:
AD910L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author


JEANETTE WINTER has written and illustrated many books for children that grew out of true-life stories. She lives near Central Park in New York City.

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