The Eagles Are Back

by Jean Craighead George (Author) Wendell Minor (Illustrator)

The Eagles Are Back
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
The American bald eagle, the national symbol of the United States, was once dangerously near to extinction. With the help of dedicated volunteers and decades of hard work, the eagle population made a dramatic comeback. This moving picture book tells the story of one boy who helped in the hatching of an eaglet. Featuring vividly detailed paintings from landscape artist Wendell Minor, Jean Craighead George's inspiring text will motivate readers of all ages to care for the environment and its many creatures.

Publishers Weekly

In this inspiring companion to The Wolves Are Back and The Buffalo Are Back, Minor and the late George complete a trio of "environmental success stories that show us it is possible to preserve nature for future generations," as Minor puts it in his acknowledgments. The book retains the economical prose of its predecessors, though a pair of central human characters--a boy and a park ranger who share a passion for endangered bald eagles--give this story an added intimacy for readers. The bald eagle's numbers had dropped from half a million when the Founding Fathers named it the national bird to less than 1,000, due in large part to the use of the pesticide DDT. The ranger and boy attempt to get a pair of bald eagles, named Uncle Sam and First Lady, to adopt an egg that has been brought in from Alaska after the birds' own eggs were destroyed. Minor's gouache and watercolor are characteristically majestic--from the eagles' delicate feathers and thatched nests to the cloudy blue skies and bright forests around them, every spread is thick with texture and detail. Ages 6-8. (Mar.)■

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-4--This tale of the bald eagle's survival from a threatened state is set in an undated era when eggs, made fragile as DDT pervaded the environment, cracked under the weight of brooding birds. George begins a fictionalized scheme telling of a boy observing eagles "by a remote lake" and then helping a park ranger to encourage adoption by local birds of an imported egg placed in their empty nest. The author seamlessly blends factual explanations into the story line, telling how the eagles have wide influence on nature as their eating habits send food remnants to smaller creatures and then sketching the birds' years of decline. The boy and the ranger become observers as a successful hatching occurs, and the text then follows the care and growth of the eaglet until it takes flight. Minor's paintings handsomely convey the eagles' impressive stature and the natural settings they inhabit. The book fits loosely with two others in which these longtime collaborators describe animals recovering from threatened extinction-The Wolves Are Back (2008) and The Buffalo Are Back (2010, both Dutton). The factual information is a quick sketch with no author's note or end matter-save a short list of websites-to add facts or indicate if the story is actually grounded in real events. Libraries and readers will welcome this engaging introduction to the iconic bird, and it is a nice addition to the growing list of books featuring children as active participants in caring for the natural world.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Minor's paintings handsomely convey the eagles' impressive stature and the natural settings they inhabit...libraries and readers will welcome this engaging introduction to the iconic bird." - School Library Journal

"This would be a useful addition to any library's collection of books dealing with threatened and endangered species." - Library Media Connection

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2013
Keystone to Reading Book Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015
Delaware Diamonds Award
Nominee 2014 - 2015

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