Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City

By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Red-tailed hawk story stirs urban enviro-conflict.

Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

By calling Pale Male the "citizen hawk of New York City," Janet Schulman lets the reader know just where she stands on the issue of hawks vs. humans, and her stance echoes throughout the book. The question of whether hawk rights outweigh human rights is really never asked; it's assumed that they are at least of equal importance. But the problem of how to manage nesting wildlife amid the city, with all the mess and inconvenience it might bring, is not addressed. However, this is still an amazing story, and one that will certainly evoke important discussion.

Most of the story is told in a straightforward, journalistic style. The most engaging parts tell of Pale Male's first appearance in Central Park, his nest building activities, and the things he does to teach his fledging hawklets to survive. Readers will be as amazed, and captivated, as New Yorkers were. And they will be just as stunned at the harshness of the people who destroyed the hawks' nest. Watercolor paintings create scenes of almost breathtaking interest. The colorful autumn trees of Central Park stand out in stark contrast to grey high rise buildings. Brown, black, beige feathered hawks soar gracefully in the sky, or guard speckled eggs in a twig-woven nest perched on a cement ledge. Scene after scene brings the natural world together with the urban. While this is the root of conflict in the Pale Male story, it's also the part that makes it amazing.

Book Details

  • Author: Janet Schulman
  • Illustrator: Meilo So
  • Genre: Animals
  • Book type: Non-Fiction
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • Publication date: March 11, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 11
  • Number of pages: 40
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate