Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Review: Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World
Publish June 12, 2014
In Skydiver, Celia Godkin tells the stories of peregrine falcons, the severe decline in their population caused by the pesticide DDT, and the human volunteers whose intervention is necessary if the population is to recover. Godkin follows the lives of both the wild and incubated birds, as well as providing background material on the fight to ban DDT. She begins with two peregrines and their first clutch of four eggs in a cliffside nest. These eggs are taken by humans, who know that the birds will quickly lay a new batch. Two of the three eggs in the second clutch break (DDT weakens the shells), and the wild peregrines raise only one chick The collected eggs are incubated and four little chicks hatch. One is raised by humans and used for breeding while the others are kept from human contact but are provided with food; first in an artificial nest in the country, then, after a great horned owl attack, on an urban skyscraper ledge. Two make it to adulthood and start their own families. While the jumps from one narrative to another can be confusing, this is not a serious a problem since children will likely be reading this book with a teacher or a parent An accomplished artist, Godkin also gives us pictures of this extraordinarily swift bird swooping and playing in a sunlight sky, as well as endearing depictions of the awkward chicks with their fuzzy white down and the gawky juveniles with their mixture of adult plumage and baby fluff. It is these illustrations — as well as Godkin’s advice to “Look up!” — that will really inform and excite children about these beautiful birds. Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World written and illustrated by Celia Godkin Pajama Press, April 2014 unpaginated Ages 5 to 9 Gillian O’Reilly is the editor of Canadian Children’s Book News. The National Reading Campaign publishes children’s book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.