BIRD TALK by Ann Jonas


Age Range: 3 - 8
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PLB 0-688-14173-0 Jonas (Watch William Walk, 1997, etc.) “eavesdrops” on dozens of birds, then transcribes their phrases in this unique guide to bird calls. Intrigued by “memory phrases,” descriptions of bird songs found in birdwatching guides, Jonas playfully places birds in conversation with each other, then graphically provides a human context that makes their talk humorous. For example, birds whose chatter is “Kitty-kitty-kitty,” “Meow,” or “Kitty-Go” are posed flying over, wading beside, or hovering near a tabby cat hiding in beach grass. Perched outside a classroom window, the mockingbird calls, “Teacher, teacher,” alongside the yellow-throated vireo and magnolia warbler who have school-related reading and numbers as part of their songs. The funniest spread pairs birds such as the Carolina wren, who sings “Tea-kettle, tea-kettle” with the Rufous-sided towhee, saying, “Drink your tea, drink your tea,” outside a kitchen window where the stove boasts a whistling tea kettle. Another has the same towhee exclaiming, “Hot-dog-pickle-ickle-ickle” next to the common nighthawk singing, “Pork, beans” from a tree that shades a picnic site. Each bird is deftly drawn in true-to-life colors with a preciseness of line that makes for easy identification. The accompanying sounds are presented in clearly delineated speech bubbles using varying sizes and fonts. It’s hard not to warble along, inspired by the riotous conversations in this comely book that is sure to have readers “cheerily-cheer-up” with “glug glug glee.” (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-14174-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999


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