Shadows in the Sky: REVIEWS
Winner of the Waterstones Holyer an Gof Special Prize, 2008
“I loved this book. It had all the realism, detail and enthusiasm of the ‘animal stories’ I devoured as a little boy – Duncton Wood, Watership Down, Tarka the Otter – and just a touch of the mysticism of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I know choughs are supposed to despise gulls, but I think Codha and Jonathan are kindred spirits nonetheless. I had the privilege of seeing the recently re-established Cornish choughs while filming for Coast last year – and I have to confess that before I arrived I was at a loss to understand why so much fuss was being made about a lot of red-legged crows. And then I saw them. There truly is a magic about them – an elegance and a sense of something otherworldly. Shadows in the Sky does them justice.”
- Neil Oliver, BBC Coast presenter
“I enjoyed this book immensely. It was a pleasure to unfurl the history of the Cornish chough through these dramatic means. I also liked the feel of the book, the local flavour, and the evocative drawings. As a naturalist, I hope the whole package will appeal to a younger audience with whom we sometimes struggle to communicate.”
- Chris Packham, naturalist and presenter BBC Springwatch
“Shadows in the Sky is a charming tale, in the tradition of Watership Down and Kenneth Allsop’s Adventure Lit Their Star. In a story of triumph over disaster spanning three centuries, Pete Cross creates an evocative portrait of one of our rarest and most charismatic birds.”
- Stephen Moss, BBC Wildlife producer and Guardian staff writer
“This enthralling story of the chough’s demise and historic comeback to Cornwall is told through the eventful lives of Yowynk, Popet and Codha, Dirak and Bir. Bringing old and new Cornwall to life on the page, Pete Cross understands how special choughs are to the county and Cornish people and just what forces can both displace and encourage back wildlife. Shadows in the Sky is a great read for people of all ages.”
- Claire Mucklow, RSPB Cornwall Chough Project Officer
“As soon as I read this delightful book I felt a great need to go out and see the choughs for myself. They come alive on the page.”
- Ann Kelley, author, The Bower Bird
"Shadows in the Sky is an exciting, informative, engaging and well-crafted book. He adopts and sustains a well-chosen narrative style that will absorb 8 – 12 year olds. He is not sentimental. Death intervenes, but the dash and bravery of Yowynk or Dirak will shape readers’ idea of the chow.
Rich in social history and nature, tinged with folklore and a strong Cornish perspective, Shadows in the Sky should find its way into all Cornish junior schools."
- Bert Biscoe, Cornish World magazine
"...the description of the land and seascape is up there with the very best Cornish-based fiction..."
- Malcolm Wyatt, writewyatt
"I have never read a more enchanting book.
I found myself being drawn into it. I fell from the rock in the stinky cave, I swooped across the cliffs with the choughs, I fed when they fed, was afraid when they were, and devastated when Codha was shot, and so relieved to find that he was alive. On reluctantly closing the book it took two or three hours to become human again. Pure enchantment. Looking forward to the next book."
- Margery Stone, aged 86, Illogan, Cornwall
"Cornishman Pete Cross turns fact into engaging fiction...Highly recommended."
- Palores, Cornish Birds
"This book has all the fantastic realism and detail of Michael Morpurgo's stories. Shadows in the Sky always has something exciting going on and it makes you want to stay there with Yowynk and his descendants on the Cornish coast. An absolutely awesome book!"
- Patrick Merchant, aged 8