Song for the Whooping Crane

Eileen Spinelli, Author, Elsa Warnick, Illustrator
Eileen Spinelli, Author, Elsa Warnick, Illustrator Eerdmans Books for Young Readers $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5172-7
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A visual and linguistic delight, this celebration of the endangered whooping crane delivers a subtle environmental message. Beginning ""in the far North/ when October spills/ across the ice/ and the wind sweeps high,"" Spinelli (Night Shift Daddy) traces the flight of the cranes to their southern habitat and back again, detailing the kinds of foods, sounds and activities in which the birds engage. Spinelli infuses the narrative's reverential tone with an infectious sense of wonder: ""Come see!/ Step out from dappled doorways,/ leave your dreams."" Warnick's (They Walk the Earth) deft watercolors balance close-up views of the ice-white cranes with silhouetted figures (such as the cranes' awkward mating dance, ""They bow,/ they leap,/ they flap their wings"") and striking landscapes. From an aerial view of a town in sleeting rain to the gray shadowed crane asleep in shallow pools, Warnick's serene images are breathtaking. By book's end, as the cranes go ""in blossom-scented April once more to northern nesting grounds,"" the reader will join the author in hoping, ""may it always be so."" All ages. (Sept.)
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