Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World


Aside from penguins, birds of prey are the most popular in our library collection. The books on eagles, owls, and hawks are always in demand, so I'm glad to have another to put on the shelf. But I am also happy that it is a piece of narrative nonfiction, and the story it tells of the peregrine falcon and efforts to prevent its extinction is fascinating. Author/illustrator Celia Godkin describes the problems caused by the insecticide DDT, how it made the "eggshells so thin that they broke easily." Many falcons could not successfully hatch any young to carry on their species. She also describes how conservationists and volunteers collected eggs and raised them in sanctuaries to help preserve the peregrines.

The illustrations show the details of coloring on the falcon's wings, the fluffy softness of the new chicks, and the crowds of protesters who worked to get DDT banned. The pictures also capture the streamlined shape of the peregrine as it dives, and in a beautiful spread, the aerial courtship dance is framed against the blue sky. The cover illustration does an amazing job of capturing the sense of speed with an almost time-lapse image of a diving peregrine. An author's note gives additional information about the peregrine falcon and DDT, as well suggesting some websites for further research.

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