All Eyes on Alexandra

Anna Levine; Chiara Pasqualot­to, illus.

  • Review
By – July 31, 2018

For a crane, Alexan­dra is quite the char­ac­ter: smart, intu­itive, obser­vant, brave, and charm­ing. This delight­ful bird and unusu­al men­tor teach­es young read­ers that Israel is a par­adise to migrat­ing birds of many types. Over 500 mil­lion birds fly over the coun­try twice a year, land­ing in the Hula Val­ley to rest and pre­pare for flight to their sum­mer and win­ter homes. The way is long; the dan­gers are real. Stay­ing togeth­er and fly­ing in for­ma­tion makes these ardu­ous jour­neys pos­si­ble, and Alexan­dra makes learn­ing about them fun and memorable.

Ima and Abba Crane wor­ry about Alexan­dra, who loves to wan­der and explore. As she does, she learns about air cur­rents, weath­er, friends, and foes. She inter­nal­izes impor­tant lessons about obser­va­tion, direc­tion, and community.

On a pre-migra­tion flight, Saba Crane notices Alexandra’s matu­ri­ty and abil­i­ty as she leads him away from a preda­to­ry eagle; then, when they get lost, she finds the way back. Alexan­dra clear­ly loves to lead, and final­ly gets her chance to head the crane vee” on a jour­ney above the Mid­dle East. The birds land in Israel and savor many of its best des­ti­na­tions. Final­ly set­tled in the Hula Val­ley, the cranes don’t know where Alexan­dra has gone. They even­tu­al­ly dis­cov­er her danc­ing for crane chicks, val­i­dat­ing her per­son­al­i­ty as a cre­ative leader.

Real­is­tic draw­ings sup­port the warm dia­logue, descrip­tive text, and sci­en­tif­ic information.

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

Discussion Questions