Monday, January 2, 2017

Falcon's egg by Luli Gray

When I travelled to NYC several years ago I was keen to find all the places mentioned in books such as Eloise, From the mixed up files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, The cricket in Times Square, When you reach me and Stuart Little.  I completely forgot this little book Falcon's Egg even though it is one I often recommend to my students.

New York City references :
Emily Falcon Davies known as Falcon finds an egg in Central Park
"The scarlet Egg lay hidden in the long grass, and though the day was misty and full of rain, the air around it shimmered with heat."

Falcon lives at 16 West 77th Street and from her friend Ardene's apartment she can see The Museum of Natural History.  Aunt Emily knows a man there called Freddy who is an ornithologist.  There is a disused aviary on the museum roof above Freddy's apartment.  "It was like an old castle, with tall battlements all around and narrow slits for shooting arrows through."

Falcon's mum is a book illustrator and she becomes very distracted when working towards a 'deadline' so the kids often eat take away food. "All they ate was take-out from the Korean deli on 77th and Columbus."

Central Park is where Falcon finds the Egg and where she takes her young dragon to fly during the night.   "In New York City, the streets are cleared of the last grey slush.  People open their coats to the April wind and catch the smell of lilacs from the Conservatory Garden at 105th Street."

Central Park is also the setting where her Friends of Egg gather for the final release of her dragon friend.  "Please come to the Rite of Passage for Egg.  4am. Meet inside park entrance west 77th Street."

One of my favourite ideas in this book is the way the Egg heats itself maintaining a temperature of 127 degrees Fahrenheit.  I also like the idea of keeping the egg snug in an old Russian fur lined hat.

Our copy is very worn and this book is long out of print so I am going to suggest you might read the ebook version.  Falcon's egg was first published in 1995 and arrived in our school library in 1997. I am considering buying a second hand copy as a replacement.  There are only one or two references which date this story.  Early on someone mentions a VCR for example and Falcon's dad sends postcards from Australia and Africa with no mention of email of course.

Researching this post I now discover there were two sequels. Both are also out of print.

Here are some reviews :
Publishers Weekly  An imaginative and meaningful tale, told with flair. 
Kirkus  Engaging, intelligent, and well-wrought:
School Library Journal Best book of the Year and an ALA Notable book

You might also enjoy Hatching Magic.  I would also suggest the trilogy about Kumiko.

No comments: