HAWK HIGH by Betty Krasne Levine


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It's important to have something I can do,"" says mother when she decides to go to pharmacy school. With older (eighth grade) brother Edmund getting all the paying jobs and school sports action, Toni feels the same way. She complains that ""just because she would rather find out about hawks and cows than make soup for Mrs. Miller, they said she was different""; but in truth Toni wants to be different, dreams of glory and Presidential praise, and--only a bit more realistically, it seems--dreams of spying close-up on a pair of hawks that even old Mr. Morgenstein, a fellow bird-watcher, has not been able to identify. Seeking out the hawk's nest high on nearby St. John's Ledges is not a child's activity; but one afternoon when the family is busy Toni hikes up cliffs and along a trail. . . which takes her further than she's expected and strands her at sunset, in a thunderstorm. Toni has to stay in the woods till morning and then pick her way down treacherous rocks to the road, but before setting out she does spy the hawks, their identifying marks, and their nest on the ledge. Without undue drama Levine wrings just the right amount of tension from the venture, and she gives Toni a properly dampening homecoming: Instead of being impressed with her accomplishment, her relieved family chides her for irresponsibility and tells the local paper that she was only ""lost."" Her newly understanding father comes through with just a little too much bolstering at the very end, but overall the story has more genuine intensity than most such constructions.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1980
Publisher: Atheneum