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City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male
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City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male

by Meghan McCarthy
 

There's a hawk in the city!

New York City is known for its sky-scrapers, subways, and hustle and bustle — not for its wildlife. So everyone is surprised when a red-tailed hawk is spotted flying over Fifth Avenue, and even more surprised when he decides to settle down on the ledge of one of the Big Apple's swankiest apartment buildings.

The hawk

Overview

There's a hawk in the city!

New York City is known for its sky-scrapers, subways, and hustle and bustle — not for its wildlife. So everyone is surprised when a red-tailed hawk is spotted flying over Fifth Avenue, and even more surprised when he decides to settle down on the ledge of one of the Big Apple's swankiest apartment buildings.

The hawk soon draws many admirers. They name him Pale Male and watch as he builds his nest, finds a mate, and teaches his little hawk babies to fly.

Based on the true story of Pale Male, City Hawk brings New York City's favorite hawk to life in a story of family, perseverance, and big-city living.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A must for all collections." — School Library Journal

“A lovable story.”—Wild Bird magazine

Publishers Weekly

Featuring similarly spare paintings as Jeanette Winters's The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story, McCarthy's (Aliens Are Coming!) book covers much of the same turf-and air space-as that spring release. McCarthy concisely chronicles the true, reportedly unprecedented occurrence of two red-tailed hawks' construction of a nest in the cornice of a swanky apartment building on Manhattan's Upper East Side. From nearby Central Park, a group of bird-watchers who called themselves "the Regulars" vigilantly followed Pale Male and Lola's every move and rejoiced when two chicks hatched. The other headline-grabbing aspect of these hawks' tale-the building's residents, irked by the birds' messy habits, successfully lobbied to get the nest removed, then, in response to passionate protests, reversed their decision-is explained in a lengthy author's note. Combining vibrant and earth tones, McCarthy's unadorned acrylic illustrations have a puckish quality, both her human and winged characters incarnated as amiable bug-eyed creatures who express themselves through the slant of their mouths (or tilt of their beaks). A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book will benefit New York City Audubon. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Debbie Levy
The illustrations are engaging in this account of the true story of Pale Male and Lola, two red-tailed hawks that took up residence atop a fancy apartment building overlooking New York's Central Park. Every person and every critter—dogs, ducks, and hawks—has bulging eyes, McCarthy's signature, which lends punch and humor to the pages. The book as a whole, however, does not quite deliver a punch of its own. The text asserts that Pale Male created excitement—for example, when he first flew over Fifth Avenue—but the assertion is not supported with happenings in the narrative or action in the pictures. Pale Male finds Lola, and the two build a nest atop the apartment building overlooking Central Park, but this part of the story, too, lacks drama or character. "Would they lay eggs?" the narrative asks. Yes, they did. "Would they hatch?" Yes, "finally" they did. "Would the chicks fly?" Yes, "at last" they did. Back matter includes a page entitled "Learn More About Central Park," which is interesting, and an extensive bibliography, with plenty of articles from papers ranging from the South China Morning Post to the Brattleboro (Vermont) Reformer. McCarthy clearly did her homework. She also includes a two-page author's note. This is full of information about how unusual it was for Pale Male to stop in New York City; about the conflict between bird lovers and the rich apartment dwellers who were not happy that the birds attracted a bevy of hawk watchers staring through telescopes at their homes; and about the day in 2004 when the apartment management had the hawks' nest dismantled—only to reverse that decision, and hire an architect to whom they paid$40,000 to design and construct a new platform for the birds. What a great story readers will find in the author's note! Reviewer: Debbie Levy
Kirkus Reviews
The year's second book to shine the spotlight on New York City's most famous red-tailed hawk provides fun images but misses the narrative mark. McCarthy populates her illustrations with her characteristically pop-eyed cartoon people, here joined by comically round-eyed hawks. The text details the appearance of Pale Male in Manhattan, his romance with Lola and the subsequent building of their nest and the hatching and fledging of their chicks. The avid attention paid to these urban hawks by the city's birdwatching community receives some attention as well, but aside from some uncertainty about the ability of the chicks to fly across the street to the park (which they do in the middle of the night), there's no narrative tension to enliven the plot. Inexplicably, the story avoids the stuff-of-legends conflict with the hawk-hating residents of 927 Fifth Avenue that Jeanette Winter chronicles so successfully in The Tale of Pale Male (March 2007). Although this story appears in the lengthy author's note (along with a "Learn More About Central Park" featurette and a jam-packed bibliography), its curious absence from the body of the text leaves readers with little to care about. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416933595
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date:
09/11/2007
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
213,069
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Meghan McCarthy is the award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children, including Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs; Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton; Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum; City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male; Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse; and All That Trash. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at Meghan-McCarthy.com.

Meghan McCarthy is the award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children, including Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs; Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton; Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum; City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male; Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse; and All That Trash. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at Meghan-McCarthy.com.

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