With bouncy verse and colorful illustrations, an experienced picture-book team introduces a familiar bird.
Focusing on six woodpecker species common in eastern deciduous forests—downy, red-bellied, red-headed and pileated woodpeckers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers and northern flickers—Sayre describes typical behaviors: shredding, carving, drilling, messaging, feeding, cleaning, courting, hiding, nesting, nurturing and storing food. She even mentions their useful seed-enriched droppings. Each page or spread includes a well-rhymed and rhythmic quatrain set on an illustration showing the action described. Repetitive onomatopoeic sounds such as “CHOP, CHIP, CHOP!” and “BONK-BONK-BONK” combine with plentiful alliteration to make the simple verses come alive. Each species is recognizable in Jenkins’ cut-and-torn–paper collages by its head markings (but not so clearly from the striped and spotted bodies). The birds are shown in their usual habitat over four seasons, sometimes up close and sometimes from a middle distance. A particularly appealing image shows a flicker gorging on cherries, its head and upper body stained with the juice. The pictured birds are identified in thumbnail illustrations included in the extensive backmatter for older readers and adults: six pages of description of the woodpecker world which amplify the read-aloud text.
Attractive and surprisingly informative, this should join the duo’s Eat Like a Bear (2013) on every preschool and primary nature shelf. (Informational picture book. 3-8)