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Sparrow Hawk Red Paperback – January 1, 1900

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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A New Class (Star Wars: Jedi Academy #4)
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8-- As in Rescue Josh McGuire (Hyperion, 1991), Mikaelsen aptly describes a 13-year-old boy's emotional response to an appalling event. Ricky Diaz, the son of an ex-Drug Enforcement Agency pilot, vows to avenge the death of his mother, an innocent victim of the international drug war. When he overhears his father refuse a secret mission to confiscate the Skyhawk, a Mexican drug cartel's plane (equipped with radar stolen from the DEA), Ricky decides to do it himself. Spanish-speaking and confident in his ability to fly small aircraft, he heads for the border. Once across, he lives among the rateros (homeless children) and meets Soledad, a streetwise waif who shares not only survival tips, but also strategies for penetrating the high-security cartel compound. Ultimately Ricky accomplishes his goal, but not without the last minute intervention of his father. Although the plot is far-fetched, many aspects of the novel ring true. The characterization is strong, the depiction of street life realistic, and the theme timely. This fast-paced tale should appeal to a varied audience, including reluctant readers. --Pat Katka, San Diego Public Library
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Ricardo (``Ricky'') lives with his widower father Benito in an Arizona border town. Benito, formerly with the Drug Enforcement Agency, is teaching his son to fly--illegally, since Ricky's only 13. Meanwhile, eavesdropping on his father and some DEA agents, Ricky learns that his mother didn't die accidentally, as he's been told, but was murdered by drug-cartel members--the same men who've stolen a DEA radar-equipped plane that Ricky vows to get back. Posing as a homeless Mexican, he invades the druglords' compound, seizes the plane, and flies home. Concerns about being a ``quitter'' nearly sink this adventure, as do two abrupt breaks from Ricky's point of view to his father's. But Mikaelsen pens savage scenes of Mexican street life, pokes fun at government officials, provides action-packed aerial sequences, and somehow pulls off his premise that a 13-year-old could put one over on seasoned drug traffickers. Innocent and appealing. (Fiction. 10-14) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; Reprint edition (March 10, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786810025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786810024
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,776,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am a 6th grade teacher who teaches a 22-day rotation class on flight. Since I have had the opportunity to fly aerobatic planes (my step-dad is a pilot), this book really caught my interest. This is a favorite read-aloud for my students. Many students say that it was the best part of their rotation class and when students come back to visit with me years later, they still remember Ricky and Soledad. When students "beg" you to read "just one more chapter" instead of doing some "cool" flight experiments, you know you have something pretty special.
I work hard to teach students how to write using word choices and "voice" that create pictures in the reader's mind. I have chosen Ben Mikaelsen as one of my favorite authors for exemplifying this. When I ask students what they "see" as I read, they can easily describe the feelings that Ricky has about losing a mother and stealing an airplane, along with the spirit and spunk of Soledad. I don't think that you will view "street kids" in the same way after reading SPARROW HAWK RED. As a matter of fact, my students would like to write to Ben Mikaelsen and ask him if he would write a sequel!
I am currently preparing to read STRANDED to my Social Studies classes. I am excited to read COUNTDOWN when it becomes available.
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I love all of Ben Mikaelsens books. They all have messages that the students can pick up on. His books are favorites of my students. Sparrow Hawk Red was especially good for showing both strong female and male roles.
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Format: Paperback
Okay initial disclaimer. As a Chicano activist I look for anything that can promote a positive image of Latino/Mexican people. So I snatched up this book when I saw it.
The writing is a bit heavy handed. The author has to try to convince the reader that his characters are in touch with their culture. Mentioning Aztecs, Toltecs and everyone else in one paragraph is fatiguing but I guess it served a purpose.
The characterization of street kids in Mexico was realistic and depressing. I wonder if they really do live on such a cruel edge. Poverty and a culture of ignorance are the enemies.
Street girl describes her mother's illness and father's tequila abuse; no surprise there huh? Stop drinking and your life might be better - no, stop drinking and life will get better. But even then this troubled family life doesn't really explain the girl's lumpenness.

I thought the premise was unique. Sure why not have a kid steal a seized plane used for drug running? I think this book is good in that it is high interest and can get young boys reading. Teach a kid to read and he can feed himself....
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A Kid's Review on December 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sparrow Hawk Red is a really cool book. I liked it because it had adventure, Spanish, and different countries. Ricky has to make difficult decisions about stealing a plane. He skips school and takes a bus across the border. When there, he has to pretend to be a street kid. He soon finds out that it is difficult to live on the street. He meets someone named Soledad. She helps him to survive. I think you should read this book if you like suspense because the end of each chapter is really "cliff hanging".
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By A Customer on May 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sparrow Hawk Red is a good book. It is about a foolishly brave boy. I liked his adventures but they're unrealistic. I liked the very end because it was very exciting and suspensefuul. I liked the part when Ricky poisons the guards. That was the best part except for the last few sentences of the book. I really like the story, even if it's unrealistic.
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Format: Paperback
I thought the book, Sparrow Hawk Red, was an outstanding book. I mean, I guess I am the kind of person that likes books that keep you suspensful, and wondering what is going to happen next. I would have to give this book five stars. I liked it so much that is why i give it five stars. The setting of this book ranges from (I think) sounthern Arizona and about five to ten miles out of Mexico City. They never really said what city it was in. I am going to tell you the plot of the story so you can get some ideas of why i liked it. The conflict was about Benito Diaz, and his son Ricky Diaz. A souple of years ago Beito used to work for teh DEA. But he sort of quit the DEA after her got a phone call telling him to back off the case or he would be sorry. That was one reason why he quit but that wasnt the main reason. The main reason was because a couple of days after he had gotten that phone call and had not backed off the case, his wife was in a suspicious car accident. At first he thought that it was just any car accident but when the DEA investigated the scene they found her brakes were cut. Benito told Ricky that it was just a car "accident" but one day the DEA came over to tell Beinto and only Benito that the drug people in Mexico had gotten a radar that could detect their radar so they couldn't stop them from dealing drugs. So they asked Benito to help them steal the "biplane" that had the radar in it. And they said that it was in Ranch Cammaro's Ranch, in Mexico. But Benito them brought up his wife dieing in the car accident. He said something like you want me to steal the airplane from them after they already killed my wife. I don't want to leave Ricky all alone if I die.Read more ›
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