Reviews for Pale Male : Citizen Hawk of New York City


Booklist Reviews 2008 February #2
*Starred Review* In the fall of 1991, a red-tailed hawk flew over Central Park. Unlike most of the migratory birds that only rest briefly in New York City's urban oasis, this bird stayed to make a home. The hawk, named Pale Male by excited birdwatchers, chose a mate and built a nest on a high window ledge on one of the city's most exclusive buildings. The well-heeled residents quickly tired of stepping over Pale Male's garbage, and they removed the nest. Animal protection organizations and the bird's thousands of fans protested, and Pale Male was allowed to return to the building, eventually producing 23 chicks. Schulman's leisurely, engaging story, offers far more detail than Jeannette Winter's The Tale of Pale Male (2007), and children may have questions about specific references, from Central Park sites to the Audubon Society. The stunning watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are both whimsical and elegant, and their beautiful contrasting views of the bird soaring above the wild park and the forest of skyscrapers will ignite children's curiosity in both urban animals and the caring people who help protect them. An author's note concludes. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #2
This third recent picture book about the red-tailed hawks that have nested on a posh building across from Central Park since the 1990s is the best so far (see also Jeanette Winter's Tale of Pale Male, rev. 3/07, and Meghan McCarthy's City Hawk, rev. 1/08). Narrating in an admirably easygoing and lucid style, Schulman tells Pale Male's story in greater detail (including, for instance, an earlier, aborted nesting attempt and the loss of his first mate), seamlessly integrating it into the context of other city life, animal and human. Though she describes the avid bird watchers and the affection for the hawks that seems to have been shared by all save the building's owners, her primary focus is on the birds themselves, even when recounting the media circus that ensued after "conservation and wildlife laws were...relaxed" in 2003 and the owners took the opportunity to destroy the long-established nest. With impressionistic virtuosity, Meilo So captures the city's rich variety, from the park's welcoming green to the austere tones of its more heroic architecture; from a diverse crowd of placard-toting New Yorkers ("Honk 4 Hawks"; "Preserve family values, Bring Back the Nest") to the birds themselves. Her point of view varies from curbside to hawk's-eye; her watercolor-and-colored-pencil palette is keyed to the lovely russets and creams of Pale Male's plumage, enlivened with splashes of intense color. Appended are an author's note and five "Sources for Further Study," including two websites and a DVD. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 March #1
A lengthy text tells the story, again, of the red-tailed hawk that thrilled the birdwatchers of Central Park and ruffled the feathers of the residents of 927 Fifth Avenue. The fierce predator's eye that gazes out at readers from the front jacket give the book its raison d'être: So's exquisite watercolors. Her swift brushstrokes take on an energy all of their own as they depict Pale Male terrorizing pigeons, tending to his chicks and serenely taking up residence on the luxury apartment building that became the locus of so much controversy. Schulman's story is more complete than either Pale Male, by Jeanette Winter, or City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male (both 2007), which each told more compact slices of the hawk's adventures. Readers will learn of Pale Male's past romances and of his chicks' successes on their own, making this a worthwhile next step for youngsters captivated by either of the two earlier books. It is undeniably duplicative, however, and stands out much more for its illustrations than for the story. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 March
When Pale Male, a hawk so named because of his light coloring, first decided to nest in Central Park in the heart of New York City, he nearly didn't last. He and his new mate eventually decided to build their nest atop one of the exclusive high-rise apartment buildings uptown. Angered by the bird droppings and other nest debris falling on the sidewalk in front of their building, the wealthy residents demand that the management remove the nest. A battle between the residents and the many fans of the hawks ensued. Eventually Pale Male and his mate were able to lay eggs that hatched. While Pale Male was the first hawk to nest in Manhattan, he has not been the last. His offspring continue to stay and hunt the park for wildlife and ride the updrafts between buildings. Beautiful watercolor and ink illustrations accompany this inspiring story of how one hawk beat the odds stacked against him. An author's note following the text offers more information and resources are listed for further research. Recommended. Heather Hepler, Assistant Professor, University of Maine at Machias (Maine) © 2008 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 January #4

Although the red-tailed hawk of Fifth Avenue has inspired at least two other picture books, this version stands out for its urbane, reportorial prose and stylish watercolors (according to jacket copy, Schulman wrote with So specifically in mind; the pair also worked together for A Bunny for All Seasons ). To Schulman, Pale Male and his family, who became a cause clbre when they built a nest on a ledge outside one of Manhattan's toniest apartment buildings, deserve to be thought of as "true-blue New Yorkers--tough, resourceful, and determined to make it in the city." So seconds that emotion with deft, impressionistic brushstrokes and splashes of color reminiscent of fashion illustration; her images capture not only the cool majesty of the bird, but also the tentative half-flights of the chicks and the eclectic lan of the city that lobbied for them. The politics of the Pale Male story are confronted head-on: the privileged residents of 927 Fifth Avenue, who tried to evict Pale Male by destroying his nest, get a gentle but thorough drubbing. Formidably dressed, clutching highballs and generally scowling, they're in clear violation of Big Apple spirit (the author notes that they took advantage of "a time when many conservation and wildlife laws were being relaxed by President George W. Bush's administration"). By the final page, even readers who live far from Manhattan will appreciate that Pale Male's significance and stature rise well beyond those of media darling. Ages 6-12. (Mar.)

[Page 68]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 January

Gr 3-6-- Compared to Meghan McCarthy's City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male (S & S) and Jeanette Winter's The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story (Harcourt, both 2007), this book about the first red-tailed hawk to take up residence in New York City's Central Park since its construction in 1857 is more suitable for older readers. Schulman supplies many details missing from the earlier versions, resulting in a more accurate and leisurely story. For example, children who rightly were puzzled about how apartment-building owners were able to destroy and remove Pale Male's nest will learn that they took advantage of newly relaxed rules under the Migratory Bird Treaty. So's illustrations play up the conflict between the upscale building's residents, annoyed with the mess of nesting birds and their garbage, and the growing number of New Yorkers who rallied to force them to allow the birds to nest again. The artist's evocative watercolor and colored pencil pictures perfectly capture the power and grace of the majestic raptors. From the eye-catching endpapers, showing exactly what birders see when they spot a red-tailed hawk in the sky, to the energetic city scenes, readers experience New Yorkers' excitement about Pale Male and his various mates and their offspring and understand why his story has captured the interest of so many people.--Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

[Page 111]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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