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Counting Cranes Library Binding – September, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1941, whooping cranes were shamefully easy to count--as an author's note points out, only 15 existed in the world. (Today there are 131 whooping cranes in the Canadian-American flock.) For Owens ( A Caribou Alphabet ), counting cranes is not merely an exercise to teach numbers but a reminder of the need for continued protection of North America's largest bird. Though central, this conservationist message never overwhelms the story: the author's spare, haiku-like text makes the point with something like the understated elegance of the crane's flight. Light-splashed and airy, her watercolor and acrylic illustrations seem to hover above the page. Beginning with a single crane, each exquisite spread adds another bird as it illustrates a variety of scenes from the 2600-mile spring and fall migrations of cranes from Canada to Texas. A snowy Northern lake, harvested farmland and a Southern tidal marsh crowded with wildlife are among the habitats depicted. Information concerning the birds' mating habits, diet and relations to other species is gracefully included. Ages 2-8.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Owens (A Caribou Alphabet, 1989, ALA Notable) brings her concern for wildlife and elegant sense of design to a counting book featuring a species--the whooping crane--once reduced to a population of 15, the number shown on the last spread here (there are are now 131 cranes ``living in the Canadian-American flock''). Building toward that number, she pictures a solitary crane in a late spring snow and a pair with a single nestling; in mounting numbers, the flock forages for food, migrates, and completes the year by setting north again. Owens's text is as spare and carefully honed as haiku (``Cold and heavy,/wings beating/to pass a storm cloud,/eight cranes/struggle''); in her exquisite compositions, each comprised of a spread with two wonderfully harmonious frames, the delicate birds gracefully exceed slim borders containing impressionistically rendered landscapes. A lovely, eloquent book. (Picture book. 3-8) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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