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FLEDGLING by Robert J. Blake


by Robert J. Blake & illustrated by Robert J. Blake

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-399-23321-0
Publisher: Philomel

A young kestrel tries its wings in this roller-coaster ride of a picture book, swooping over (and under!) Brooklyn’s urban canyons in an exciting, eventful first flight. Blake (Akiak: A Tale From The Iditarod, 1997, etc.) furnishes a minimal text for his controlled, crisply detailed artwork, telling the tale mostly in vertiginous, bird’s-eye scenes of brownstone roofs and distant streets. “I set my feet again. I shake my wings. I push off into the air. I can do it. I can fly.” Between the bird’s first awkward tumble into the air and its confident, triumphant landing, a larger hawk’s attack sends it fleeing through the struts of an actual roller coaster, then plunging into a subway station and onto a train crowded with startled commuters. Soaring over skyscrapers after an impromptu ride into Manhattan, the feathered sojourner is guided back to the nest at last by its family’s cries. The trip is an amazing one that will have readers poring over the pages in awed silence. Young children facing or recalling their own first forays into the wide world will follow this one with fascination. (Picture book. 4-6)