Saturday, October 27, 2018

Review: All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine

by Anna Levine
Illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto
Ken-Bar Publishing
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8

Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can't help it that the world is so full of interesting and distracting sights! When it's time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel's Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group? And might Alexandra discover that a bad follower can make a great leader?


This book takes flight into a little adventure while teaching a bit about cranes and their migration from Europe to Israel.

Alexandra Crane has her own head and tends not to always pay attention when flying with her flock. Her relatives are concerned. They don't want her to become lost or find herself in trouble. Alexandra insists that she is sure of her way. She simply enjoys exploring a bit. While taking a test flight with Saba Crane before the flock's migration south, she proves that she does know more than the other crane's give her credit for. Can she prove herself when the true migration is underway?

Cranes are one of my favorite birds to observe, and this book does a wonderful job at introducing them to young readers. Facts surrounding the crane's migration subtly flow into this fun adventure, letting Alexandra's free traveling spirit take control. While she's different than the rest of the crane's, she's never looked down on. Rather, they other cranes care for her and simply show their concern for her safety. This 'flock' warmth sets a wonderful atmosphere for the tale. When Alexandra proves herself, it's easy to cheer for her and a joy to see the world opening up around her.

The illustrations portray the cranes nicely while still keeping a gentle, picture book flair. Alexandra not only has a slightly different appearance than the rest of the crane's (something my children wondered about) but is also given a thing red ribbon around her neck to make her easy to spot. The landscape is beautifully done as she covers new sights and locations. 

Not only does this book offer a lovely message about how differences aren't necessarily negative but can lead to wonderful things, but young readers/listeners learn a little about a crane's migration habits and even more about the world. I, personally, would have loved to have seen a map of some sort which pointed out the locations mentioned in the book, since such a visualization would help children grasp the foreign locations perhaps a little more, but this didn't ruin the read.

It's a lovely tale with lots of goodness added in.

And here she is...

From a young girl who realizes her dream of becoming an archaeologist, to female cranes who lead their flock, my stories feature strong female characters who are told that they can’t, and then set out to prove otherwise. My first YA novel,Running on Eggs was on the NY Public Library’s list of best books for the teen age in the year 2000. Freefall, a coming of age story set in Israel, won a Sydney Taylor honors award. Like Alexandra Crane, I also love to travel! Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I was raised in Montreal, Quebec. I’ve lived in California, Italy and most of my life in Israel where I teach and write. 

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