A male red-tailed hawk leaves a nest full of hatchlings to scout a suburban neighborhood for prey.
Similar in tone, setting, and general course to Gianferrari’s Coyote Moon, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (2016), the hawk’s hunt extends from sunrise to twilight as stretches of “kiting” or “perch-hunting” from atop a utility pole are punctuated by sudden—and, twice, unsuccessful—dives at small creatures, with a mobbing by crows between. Though subject to obtrusively poetic flights (“Dandelions ripple. / Oaks tremble. / Father Hawk perches / and searches”; and, more obscurely, two references to “Mars” rising “red in the sky”), the terse narrative vividly captures both the weary vigil’s length and its abrupt moments of mortal drama. Also, even though the text positions readers as “you,” one of a pair of brown-skinned siblings who watch from their porch and yard, the narrative is free of anthropomorphic language. Alternating the perspective from ground level to high overhead, Floca depicts the majestic raptor with painterly magnificence, giving its variegated plumage a soft, even shaggy look that renders the climactic flashes of its massive black talons positively electrifying. The hunt finally comes to a decisive but gore-free culmination with the hawk “grabbing” a squirrel and winging off to the nearby nest. The author closes with two pages of additional facts and leads to further information.
An absorbing reminder that we need never look far to see wild, beautiful nature. (Informational picture book. 6-9)