by Jean Craighead George, published 1999
“Frightful awoke as the morning sun brought color to the ops of the trees. Still ravenously hunger, and growing weak from lack of food, she left the pine and circled above an alfalfa field.”
In some ways, this children’s book could be categorized as non-fiction, rather than fiction, because there is so much factual information and description about falcons. Frightful is a peregrine falcon, and the main character of the story, so we learn more and more about how falcons breed, raise their young ones, find food, and migrate. Yet the children’s book is written so deftly that we feel like we are hearing about the habits of a dear friend, rather than some dry scientific information.
The characters in this children’s book also build on the previous two books. My Side of the Mountain was the first, followed by On the Far Side of the Mountain. I read and enjoyed the first, (but forgot to review it), and never read the second, and yet, the third one stands very well on it’s own. It’s particularly appealing for boys, but not exclusively so.
Because it is so infused with nature, ecology, and protection of birds, it is really best for children who have developed a close relationship with the natural world. While it might inspire those who haven’t, it could also be less interesting.
The author is a natural, and most of her children’s books find their way into classrooms, school libraries, and class reading. It’s hard to find a better, more authentic voice for the natural world than Ms. George.