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
The Tale of Pale Male: A True Storyby 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 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.
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.
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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