A graphic novel tells the story of two urban falcons raising their young high upon a Midwestern edifice.
Juxtaposed against the city's cold concrete, two wide-eyed and perpetually smiling peregrine falcons build a nest on the 12th floor of an imposing building in Cleveland. The world watches—literally—as they lay eggs, which eventually hatch. Cameras stream live footage to humans, who can keep up with the falcons and their bumbling eyasses as they teeter about on the skyscraper’s ledge. Though his illustrations are buoyant and his eye lively, Norman provides only a snapshot of these falcons' lives, missing an opportunity to bring general information about urban raptors to a captive audience; even the most rudimentary information about the birds is conspicuously absent—even the word “eyasses." For those whose interest is piqued, there is little in the way of sources or recommended reading, and the lone suggested website probably won’t thrill budding birders. The story of city-dwelling falcons has been told before in children’s literature, with multiple books about the famous Manhattanite, Pale Male; many of those titles offer more substantive and comprehensive information about falcons and the obstacles they face living in the urban jungle than this slight offering.
While Norman’s book is pleasing and upbeat, it is only a cursory glance, lacking any real substance. (Graphic nonfiction. 6-10)