Every year, Kinga and his classmates wait for the black-necked cranes to return to the kingdom of Bhutan. The birds fly south over the highest mountains in the word to winter in the valley where Kinga lives, deep in the Himalayas. The cranes have been visiting the valley since ancient times, but every year, fewer cranes return. Kinga is concerned. "What can he do?," he wonders. He and his classmates approach the monks for permission to create and perform a dance to honor the cranes and to remind the Bhutanese people of their duty to care for them. The monks caution them to first watch the cranes to see how they move and learn from them. The children watch and practice. And practice some more until the big day when they perform before the king of Bhutan.
[Diana] Cohn weaves numerous details about Bhutanese life and culture into her smoothly told story; Youme adds even more with watercolor images in a naďve style that nicely matches Kinga's present-tense narration. … [Crane Boy] gracefully celebrates both a little-known culture and its beloved birds.
This tale of wildlife conservation is narrated by a boy named Kinga, who eagerly awaits the annual return of the black-necked cranes to his Himalayan village. … The illustrations throughout showcase both Bhutanese life (filled with boisterously decorated prayer flags, flamboyant buildings, and lush forests) and the exquisite beauty and strength of the cranes, seen flying in formation and close-up.