Hawk Rising, by Maria Gianferrari | Book Review
The Children’s Book Review | April 1, 2019
Written by Maria Gianferrari
Illustrated by Brian Floca
Age Range: 4-8
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (2018)
What to Expect: Nature, Animals, Narrative, Informative.
Interactive, activity-laden, do-it-yourself non-fiction books are all very well, but sometimes what you want from non-fiction is just a straightforward, simple narrative with beautiful illustration. Maria Gianferrari and Brian Floca’s Hawk Rising provides just that. Through the eyes of two sisters, the narrative follows Father Hawk as he goes about his day, caring for his chicks and hunting in a sub-urban environment that is both natural and undeniably human.
Hawk Rising is an enticing blend of precise, intense language, and ethereal watercolor illustration. Although sparse, Maria Gianferrari’s text combines naturalistic realism with poetry, bringing the hawk’s movements to life through rhythm and its power and majesty through punchy word choices. The Hawk, although named and contextualized as a Father, is not romanticized, and readers are given a rare glimpse of him as both familiar and utterly alien. Brian Floca’s magical illustrations do the rest of the work of bringing the hawk to life within the reader’s familiar world: the natural world of sky, forest, and grass is delicately rendered, but sits with ease alongside telegraph poles, porch fencing, and street-lights, themselves rendered beautiful through the artist’s eyes and shown as an undeniable part of the Hawk’s habitat. Together, text and images work to teach a valuable lesson about the immediacy and inseparability of nature within (and not removed from) the human world, and animals as equal inhabitants of human space.
About the Author
Maria Gianferrari’s favorite pastime is searching for perching red-tailed hawks while driving down the highway. When she’s not driving, she loves watching birdcams. Her favorite feathered stars are Cornell Hawk, Big Red, and her late mate, Ezra, who together raised 15 chicks since they began nesting in 2012. Maria is the author of Hello Goodbye Dog and Coyote Moon, both published by Roaring Brook Press. She lives in Virginia with her scientist husband, artist daughter, and rescue dog, Becca. Visit her at mariagianferrari.com, on Facebook or Instagram.
About the Illustrator
Brian Floca likes to think about the journeys people take and the race cars, ships, rockets, and trains that make those journeys possible. His award-winning books as author and illustrator include “Locomotive,” winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, and a New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2013 selection; “Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11,” also a Sibert Honor Book and New York Times Best Illustrated Book; “Lightship,” a Sibert Honor Book; and “The Racecar Alphabet” and “Five Trucks.” Brian is also the illustrator of Avi’s popular Poppy Stories, Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire novels, Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s “Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring,” Lynne Cox’s “Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas,” and, coming in March, 2017, “Princess Cora and the Crocodile,” by Laura Amy Schlitz. You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.
Hawk Rising, written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Brian Floca, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Hawk Rising by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Birds, Brian Floca, Maria Gianferrari, National Poetry Month, Nature, Non-Fiction, and Poetry Books For Kids.