Song of the Swallows

Song of the Swallows

by Leo Politi
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Trade Paperback, 30 pages
Current Retail Price: $6.99
Used Price: $2.00 (1 in stock) Condition Policy

"Vienen las golondrinas!"
[Here come the swallows!]

The San Juan Capistrano mission is famous for many things. It was once the most beautiful mission church on the West Coast. In one form or another it survived two hundred years of smallpox, raids, earthquakes, and floods. And every year, for many years, Cliff Swallows migrated from Argentina and nested in the Mission's walls.

This is the story of young Juan and the friendship he strikes up with Julian, the gardener at San Juan Capastrino. When the mission bells ring on St. Joseph's day every year the swallows reappear from their winter migration and the children sing the song of the swallows. Juan builds a nest for the swallows in his own yard and eagerly waits. Will the swallows come on timethis year?

The illustrations are beautiful, luscious pictures of California at its greenest (and sometimes bluest, a color often substituted for green in Pollit's color scheme.) They hold a lot of detail, such as a scene where Juan abandons his school books on the ground in his eagerness to find a swallow's nest.

Children with adequate attention spans may enjoy this story. It's not particularly fast-paced, but it is grounded in history and the illustrations are lovely. Ambitious readers can play and sing the song of the swallows with the help of the sheet music in the back of the book. Just be forewarned that some abridging may be necessary for less eager children.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time.
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