HIGH AS A HAWK

A BRAVE GIRL’S HISTORIC CLIMB

Enos Mills fought hard to make a national park of the majestic mountains like Longs Peak in Colorado. In 1905, he was guide to eight-year-old Harriet Peters, who became the youngest person to reach Longs Peak’s 14,255-foot summit. Her dramatic story is told in the first person, captured by Lewin’s equally dramatic and splendid watercolors. Harriet wanted to reach the summit to honor her dead mother, who had longed to climb it. Lewin is a master of light and dark, wide vistas and intimate close-ups. We see every exquisite detail of tree and mountain, elk and snow. Sturdy Harriet describes the “surprises” along the way of weather and the elements, but the last image shows her with arms outspread like the hawk almost beside her. Harriet’s unusual (to us) costume of leggings, skirt, and puffy bonnet is documented in the photograph of her and Mills that’s included in the author’s note. A fine, unusual, and inspiring read. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-23704-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

REACHING FOR THE MOON

In first-person voice, Aldrin highlights points from his childhood that led to his dream of being an astronaut and making the historic moon landing. Coincidental details like his mother’s maiden name, “Moon,” and his favorite movie hero, the “Lone Ranger,” suggest clues to his destiny. After West Point, he joined the Air Force because “he wanted to fly more than anything.” Minor’s usual beautiful and realistic illustrations effectively convey spatial perspectives and movement, adding depth to the narrative. However, the cover design and type layout are confusing, indicative of a biography instead of an autobiography—a brief intro could have clarified it. Aldrin’s message in an author’s note avows, “If you set your sights high, you may accomplish more than you ever dreamed.” Pair this with Don Brown’s One Giant Step for a child’s-eye view on space exploration. (Flight/space exploration chronology) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-055445-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2005

RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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