Fourteen bird species chosen for their dramatic or unusual characteristics are illustrated and described in this album.
Each spread presents a full-bleed linocut print of the bird in question in its habitat, with a paragraph or two of detailed text describing such features as flight pattern, typical courtship behavior, plumage, migration, and feeding habits. The text includes fascinating facts about the birds, such as how the flamingo’s plumage varies with its diet, the way the bird of paradise shows off its plumage to its mate, the unusual vision of the common kingfisher, and how the toucan uses its enormous beak. Birds that travel vast distances are described, including the wandering albatross, which can cover more than 10,000 miles in a single journey, and the bar-tailed godwit, which flies more than 6,000 miles during migration. One of the most interesting birds is the rare kakapo from New Zealand, which uses its thoracic sac to make a booming sound to attract females. Togo’s linocut illustrations are beautifully composed, judiciously colored, and observant renderings of the birds and their habitats and help to give life to the factual text (produced in collaboration with the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). However, they seem mismatched to the fine-print, detailed text, looking too junior for the reading level.
Lovely but out of sync. (Nonfiction. 10-14)