About “Have You Seen Mary?”

Cover for UN Press-2

“…and the sky blackened with dark, gray bodies. In the blurry confusion, John lost Mary.” So begins Have You Seen Mary?, a fictional account of one sandhill crane’s faithful search during spring migration for his lost mate. Set on Nebraska’s Platte River, nature writer Jeff Kurrus weaves a tender story of love while also teaching us about these majestic birds. Also supported by amazing images by internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer Michael Forsberg, Have You Seen Mary? will appeal to all ages in its attempt to entertain and educate readers about sandhill cranes.

Praise for Have You Seen Mary?

No one has photographed sandhill cranes as thoroughly or as well as Michael Forsberg. Here, author Jeff Kurrus cleverly weaves a story around these images, luring readers young and old into one of nature’s great spectacles.
– David Bristow, Author of Sky Sailors: True Stories of the Balloon Era and editor of Nebraska History Magazine

Have You Seen Mary? is an enchanting love song to Plains wildness, and its fragile, magnificent migrations of feather and heart. It will appeal to both children and adults, taking us all on an unforgettable journey of joy, knowledge, and hope. A beautiful book.
– John T. Price, Author of Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships

Jeff Kurrus’s words and Michael Forsberg’s photographs are teamed here to bring us a remarkable story from the natural world they both cherish. The result is an elegant, touching and inspiring book to help reconnect our children to nature, and not a moment too late. May there be many more like this to come.
– Joel Sartore, Author, Conservationist, and Contributing Photographer for National Geographic Magazine

Have You Seen Mary? is an appealing children’s story that blends in a good deal of crane natural history, liberally sprinkled with Mike Forsberg’s spectacular photographs of sandhill cranes and their Great Plains wetlands habitats.
Paul Johnsgard, Foundation Professor Emeritus, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Have You Seen Mary? is a beautiful and sweet story that will teach kids about these majestic birds without letting them know they’re learning. A wonderful job both on the layout and image choices.
Karen McDiarmid, Art Director, Stranger in the Woods series

Bravo! Have You Seen Mary? is a magnificent book loaded with spectacular images nicely woven into a narrative.
Donald Smith, Publisher of Grand Island Independent

This book is wonderful! It’s a great book and Nebraska kids need to read it.
Kate Crowe, 4th Grade Teacher at Dodge Elementary School in Grand Island, NE

What a sweet story! It conveys solid information about crane biology without feeling at all like a textbook, and the photos are stunning.
Julie Hammonds, Associate Editor for Arizona Wildlife Views Magazine

The story of the sandhill crane migration to Nebraska each spring is well known. But with the blending of Jeff Kurrus’ thoughtful prose and Michael Forsberg’s truly magnificent photography in Have You Seen Mary?, never before has it been told in this heartfelt, educational and inspiring way.
-Alan J. Bartels, Field Assistant Editor for Nebraska Life Magazine

I just knew “Mary” would be a great book, but it even exceeds my expectations. It’s a wonderful story together with so many great photos! They are gifts for 11 and 13-year old granddaughters, but I’ll be looking for other opportunities to give them to folks. Thank you for writing the story.
-Mitzi Fox, Albion, NE

This book is dynamic for Nebraska in that the sandhill cranes are state treasures that our students study as part of state studies in fourth grade. Have You Seen Mary? is, in my opinion, a state treasure for our state studies curriculum. Ties exist in numerous areas, including art projects with the Museum of Nebraska Art that houses the official art collection of the State of Nebraska and is located in the center of the crane migration route; the ties you could make to life sciences regarding habitat and Nebraska species; and a variety of math activities accounting for the impact of the cranes on the economy. One can quickly understand the power of this book at the state level. Finally, our school district recorded all of the interactions between author Jeff Kurrus and teacher Chris Vos’s students as they worked to edit the book in real-world learning experience for Vos’s 4th grade students. We plan to incorporate this into our language arts curriculum for use in the future as students use the book in our fourth grade curricula.
-Rex Anderson, Ph.D., Curriculum Director for Gretna Public Schools

I just received your book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it as well as the photos. Michael Forsberg seems to never do anything half-way. I know he works at it. Of particular interest is your “Afterword” page. It is a very personal touch to a very personal story.
-William Ihm, Ainsworth, Nebraska

Jeff visited our 4th grade classroom and allowed the students to assist him in the revising and editing process. The knowledge and experience gained by the students to work with a real author proved to be a great adventure. Students were allowed to work with Jeff during three writing lessons in which they critiqued his writing and pictures so that they true meaning of the story could become more fully alive. The students were even more overjoyed when they had Jeff visit the classroom and share his finished product. Jeff shared with the students the suggestions they had given and he had incorporated in his book. It was a pleasure to work with Jeff on this adventure and one I’m sure my students will never forget.
-Chris Vos, 4th grade teacher from Gretna Elementary School in Gretna, NE

I first went on a mission to get a copy of Have You Seen Mary? for my daughter to donate to her elementary school library, and ended up buying many additional copies to give as gifts to friends and former exchange students from Japan, Korea and China where the crane is a treasured symbol of luck and longevity, often represented in art, literature and folklore. I tell these friends and students about the incredible migration we witness each year right here in Nebraska and encourage them to experience it if possible. I explain that visitors come from all over the world just to see it. Now, thanks to author Jeffrey Kurrus and photographer Michael Forsberg, I have a momento to give as well. This book is a fabulous gift for anyone with whom you want to share something truly special and unique about our beautiful state.
-Melissa Sherlock, Omaha, NE

A big THANK YOU for following your passion and writing this book! I recently received the two I ordered and now I just ordered three more. You do a great job making the magical journey of the cranes “real” while raising consciousness to this spectacular event in our state. It’s masterful to couple your narrative with the impeccably chosen photographs by the best wildlife photographer in our state.
-Seanne Emerton, Grand Island, NE

When our son was 9, our family visited the Platte River Valley to see the sandhill crane migration. He was perhaps a little too young and the weather a lot too cold for him to enjoy the magnitude of the experience. He was more interested in returning to the hotel swimming pool than bracing against the piercing wind while watching thousands of birds fly overhead. Perhaps if we’d had access to a book like “Have You Seen Mary?” he would have better understood and appreciated the natural spectacle he was witnessing.
-Shannon Peterson, Prairie Fire Newspaper

I purchased your book “Have You Seen Mary?” I enjoyed reading it and am quite pleased that I have been able to share it with non-birder friends. It has been hard to explain to them the reason for the annual trip my daughters and I make to the Platte River to see the migration. This book gives so much information, in such an easily understood way, that I believe they have a better understanding of what we enjoy. The superb photos add so much. Thank you for making so much information available in such an affordable way.
I will be sharing your book with my daughter who is a school teacher. I know she will be sharing it with her students, so they too can understand why she goes to the Platte each spring.
Thank you again.
Janet Rebant, Horton, KS

I ordered the book for our grandchildren, but after receiving it and reading it, I have decided to keep it our house and share it with them when they visit us, rather than giving it to them. The story is not only entertaining, but also educational — a nice mix. And of course the photography enhances it in a way that illustrations just could not do. I can’t wait to read it to them. Great job. So thank you for writing this book. We will enjoy it over and over.
Pam Keeling

NOW JUDGE FOR YOURSELF! After reading, contact the author at jeffreyekurrus@gmail.com and post your own review.