Books, Nature, Science/Math

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Vulture View

Author: April Pulley Sayre
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publication Info: Henry Holt and Company, 2007
Intended audience: Preschool and up
Genre: nonfiction, picture book (32 pages)
Themes/topics: nature, animals, science, natural history
Opening and synopsis:
“The sun is rising.
Up, up.
It heats the air.
Up, up.
Wings stretch wide
to catch a ride
on warming air.
Going where?
Up, up!”
With her signature lyrical style, April Pulley Sayre tackles the seemingly ungraceful topic of turkey vultures. These animals eat what we wouldn’t dare — stinky, rotting meat. In “Get to Know Vultures” Sayre explains the turkey vulture’s important role in breaking down large, dead animals so mice, beetles, maggots and worms can do their jobs and return nutrients to the soil. She also notes areas that budding scientists might want to study when they grow up. For example, scientists know little about how the vultures communicate and what they do in the winter.
Resources/activities: Sayre includes many resources in “Get to Know Vultures,” however her rich Web site provides even more resources. For teachers, she provides appropriate curriculum standards….here. She also recommends the Turkey Vulture Society. You’ll find a turkey vulture dot-to-dot and crossword puzzle on the State of Ohio’s parks page….here.
Why I like this book: One of my favorite nonfiction PB authors, Melissa Stewart, originally recommended this book as an outstanding example of picture book nonfiction. Sayre’s strength is her lyricism, which makes turkey vultures interesting and attractive. And, of course, Sayre’s stellar writing is paired with illustrations by the legendary Steve Jenkins. The duo have created a not-to-be-missed reading experience.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.

36 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: Vulture View”

  1. I love this lyrical langauge, I’m getting this for sure. I recently wrote a poem about turkey vultures, they are so interesting!

  2. Sounds like a great non-fiction book. Just realized she is the author of Rah, Rah, Radishes which we liked. Will have to check out more of her books. Thanks!

  3. Kirsten, I really like that we’re adding more nonfiction books to our list. As I think of the vulture in my backyard a few months ago, I have to admit they are interesting birds. My dog howled and refused to go near the door for two days. He smelled death. I love the nature theme and I looked at the author’s website and was very impressed with her activities for each grade level. Great selection for PPB.

    1. Patricia, I think April Pulley Sayre is one of the best nonfiction PBers around, especially when it comes to form. Her writing is top-notch. She just happens to write nonfiction.

  4. This is such an informative post and sharing a book at that. My daughter in law just did her master’s thesis on Turkey Vultures and I am going to share this post with her. Thanks for sharing. I think I will write a non fiction picture book manuscript on birds too. I have an idea. I’m not in 12×12 but follow along with eagle eyes. 🙂

  5. When I first saw the cover, I thought it was fiction. How interesting to read nonfiction through lyrical style, Kirsten. Like Erik, I am not particularly fond of vultures, either. However, I do love to learn about things so I would definitely give this one a try. 🙂

  6. As an elementary school librarian, I can tell you that the cover of this book will instantly draw kids to it. Elementary children will eat this book up! I love that the author included activities with curriculum standards. I wish more authors would do this-makes my job a lot easier! Thank you for this great recommendation 🙂

    1. I too love it when authors provide extensions and opportunities for children to learn more. A great book truly sparks curiosity, and it’s nice to know how to feed and encourage it.

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