I had to wrestle this book away from my seven-year-old. He’s been hiding it in the “reading cave” under his bed and periodically pulling it out to tempt me, allowing me to read a snippet here and there. Last night, I crawled under the bed, retrieved the book, and read it from endpaper to informative endpaper.
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Annette LeBlanc Cate
PUBLICATION INFO: Candlewick, 2013
INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 8 to 12 years
GENRE: nonfiction picture book
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“This is a book about one of my favorite hobbies: bird-watching (and bird drawing, too!).”
From the publisher:
“This conversational, humorous introduction to bird-watching encourages kids to get outdoors with a sketchbook and really look around. Quirky full-color illustrations portray dozens of birds chatting about their distinctive characteristics, including color, shape, plumage, and beak and foot types, while tongue-in-cheek cartoons feature banter between birds, characters, and the reader (“Here I am, the noble spruce grouse. In a spruce grove. Eatin’ some spruce. Yep.”). Interactive and enjoyable tips bring an age-old hobby to new life for the next generation of bird-watchers.
THEMES/TOPICS: science, nature
LIKE LOVE! THIS BOOK: I’m a big bird fan. We have nesting hummingbirds and mourning doves along with California quail in our yard. Last year a killdeer hid her eggs among the rocks out front. Oh, and did I mention the ravens make themselves at home at our home too?
Whenever I see something cool, I like to share it with the boys. When we take walks to the park, they look for birds along our route. Taking time to slow down and observe birds in their natural habitat is such a gift in a busy world. And I can think of no better book than this one to encourage kids along the way.
Cate’s technique reminds me of the brilliant WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING HATCHLINGS. The text is 100% nonfiction, but each page features birds with speech bubbles filled with witty repartee. It’s very clever and entertaining.
- Look up! Watch some birds in your own backyard. Put down that cell phone, gaming device, iPad, etc. and watch the birds in your yard, out the window, or at the park. Just observe. Make some notes. Even sketch or snap some photos.
- Find out more about the birds you see at Cornell University’s outstanding Ornithology site. They have fantastic bird guides. And, if you find a nest in your yard, learn how to track it using Cornell’s NestWatch.
- Each February join the Great Backyard Bird Count. Or just visit the site and learn lots more about birds.
You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!