Books, Nature, Science/Math

PPBF: Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

LookUpI 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.



PUBLICATION INFO: Candlewick, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4561-8

SOURCE:  library

INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 8 to 12 years

GENRE: nonfiction picture book


“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.

You don’t have to own binoculars and know a bunch of fancy Latin names to watch birds! No matter where you live, they’re in your neighborhood — just look up.”

THEMES/TOPICS: science, nature

WHY I 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!

26 thoughts on “PPBF: Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard”

  1. Thank you for bringing this title to my attention. I will be looking for this book in my library and recommending it to my critique group member who is writing a fiction book on birds, but needs some facts.

  2. See this is how I missed the non-fiction section at the library. I always put these books on hold from PPBF. 🙂 Looks like a fun book.

    1. I do that too, Stacy. This one is definitely shelved nonfiction. It may be ok, because it’s geared for ages 8 to 12, and those kids are more likely to use the nonfiction section.

    1. Yes, I have seen Jill’s book, and it’s lovely. I just think I HATCHED, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING HATCHLINGS, and this book would make a wonderful bird unit for the classroom.

  3. Love this book! Thinking I might have birds on the brain – red-winged blackbirds hanging out at the feeder today and our phoebes have returned from wherever they hang out in the winter…

  4. I love that there are bird-watching books for children. They really are interested in nature and books like this encourage and add a little fun. Great activities. Would love to see a blue bird in my yard.

  5. This book has been on my Amazon wish list for a long time, and it won a NF award, too. Can’t wait to read it as my son studied birds for science. Thanks, Kirsten!

      1. That’s neat! Actually, the main bird here is the magpie! It’s quite large and makes such loud, annoying sounds. They’re everywhere, like squirrels in America. Plus, the beautiful white cranes also grace the rivers, as you see in Asian folklore.

  6. This is lovely. I love watching birds too. We have among others visiting our fence-line… Tui and Kingfisher. We have mostly sparrows, seagulls and blackbirds who come when I put food in the little house birdfeeder up in one of our trees.

  7. I grew up in a bird feeding/watching family and forget that not everyone does! This is one I’ll look for.

  8. We love bird watching in our house! This book looks great! Guess what? On Friday on our way to school we saw a bald eagle! It was the first one I ever saw in the wild! It was SO COOL! And today on the way to church we saw a tom turkey all puffed up and fanned out – usually we only see the hens. 🙂

    1. A bald eagle is an awesome sighting. I am crossing my fingers for a California Condor in the wild. There’s a release site about an hour and a half from me, and I’m hoping to stop by sometime.

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