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The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry Hardcover – April 11, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—In rhythmic verse, the daughter of a castle falconer thrills to the excitement of this quintessential medieval sport. Soaring gouache illustrations follow the hawk from his castle perch through his ascent to a broad sky, while a separate inset text explains the specific equipment and rituals of falconry. An extensive author's note gives further background.
Ibatoulline invites you into his sweeping, realistic scenes with cleverly shifting perspectives. But perhaps most thrilling is a book with a castle featuring a girl who’s curious and accomplished, with her social status and marital prospects blissfully beside the point.
—The New York Times Book Review
Ibatoulline’s (The Matchbox Diary) stunningly realistic acrylic and gouache scenes illustrate from all angles, offering close-ups of the hawk, pastoral panoramas, and breathtaking aerial vistas...What young readers may appreciate most, though, is the story, beautifully presented, of the bonding between a daughter and father.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Ibatoulline’s stunning illustrations depict the father/daughter pair hunting and learning together in a landscape of brilliant color and detail...An imaginative and unique title to introduce elementary schoolers to hawks and falconry in a medieval setting—an ideal read-aloud selection, too.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Mr. Ibatoulline’s fine, realistic pictures of castle, landscape and soaring predator have a wonderful feeling of sweep and drama. In small panels, Ms. Smith supplements her poetry with falconry facts and historical context.
—The Wall Street Journal
A trained hawk serves as fierce centerpiece to broad, sweeping views of castle and countryside in this rhapsodic tribute to the craft of falconry...An idyllic picture of an ancient practice.
The fictional narrative gives the book structure, while the details of falconry add interest and purpose. In the author’s note, Smith tells of learning “the ancient sport” from her father, a falconer. A beautifully designed and illustrated volume.
The author presents the story in lyrical form and includes information boxes on each page, which goes into more detail about each subject...I would recommend this book for children in fifth grade, but it would be a nice read aloud for fourth graders. This book belongs in all libraries.
—School Library Connection
Ibatoulline’s lush, painterly spreads work in harmony with the text, tantalizing viewers with visual details of the garb and accouterments (both bird’s and falconer’s) of the sport, and immediately supplying answers as quickly as a listener can formulate a question.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Acclaimed artist Bagram Ibatoulline takes us back to medieval times with his glorious, detailed paintings in this fascinating story about falconry, as told by the young daughter of the falconer at a castle.
Here a Northern California author writes with special affection for falconry...Both enthusiastic and knowledgeable about this ancient sport, Smith concludes with a caveat: "Birds of prey must always be treated with care and respect."
—San Francisco Chronicle
Top customer reviews
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Smith has created a gorgeous two-layered book where her light hand with the verse and its traditional format clearly anchors the story in medieval times. That plays against the information shared about falconry which is clear and matter-of-fact. The text makes sure that readers never mistake the hawk for a traditional pet and never misunderstand that the hawk has emotions about their owner.
Ibatoulline’s illustrations are gorgeous. Bordered in a traditional black-and-white hawk theme, they have a lovely formality about them that suits the subject well. The paintings offer a feel of the majesty of the hawk. As the bird takes to the air so do the illustrations allowing a feel of freedom and joy.
This book truly soars, offering information for those wanting to know about falconry and a lovely poetic view as well. Appropriate for ages 6-8.