cover image Luck: The Story of a Sandhill Crane

Luck: The Story of a Sandhill Crane

Jean Craighead George, , illus. by Wendell Minor. . HarperCollins/Geringer, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-008201-7

In impressive harmony, Newbery Medalist George's (Julie of the Wolves ) lilting narrative and Minor's (Yankee Doodle America ) stunning paintings follow the year-long, round-trip journey of a young sandhill crane who migrates north to his nesting grounds. The tale opens in a Texas marsh, where a girl removes a plastic six-pack holder encircling the crane's neck. She names the bird Luck, and watches as he flies off with his parents. Memorizing landmarks below to help them navigate their way back, the family soars north and is joined along the way by 500,000 other cranes, "their voices like wind trumpets, swelling to a choir and then to a symphony." The "crackaarr " of Luck's voice acts as a tracking signal for his parents. During his extended, dramatic passage, Luck becomes separated from and then reunited with his parents. He flies with them over the Bering Strait to Siberia, where he was born; finds a mate named Wise and, with her, "danced and composed their own song." At long last they find their way back to the waiting girl who had rescued Luck a year earlier, and she watches the two cranes spread their wings in a dance together. Minor depicts the graceful birds with his usual meticulous attention to detail, while his landscapes—notably several portraying the crane-filled sky at brilliant sunset—and intriguing bird's-eye-views of the expanses both above and below are breathtaking. A rewarding and uplifting flight. Ages 4-7. (May)