From 10 black-capped chickadees to a single great horned owl, a countdown seek-and-find presents common birds.
Matheson imitates actual bird-watching with this deceptively simple “I spy”–type outing that goes from morning through night, through sun and shower, ending on the following day. Each spread contains birds (and sometimes other creatures) hidden among the kinds of trees and plants where North American readers with access to the wooded outdoors might find them in real life. It requires significant patience and persistence to find them all; the reward is a special surprise. The author opens with a “birding checklist,” invites readers to “go outside and look carefully,” and describes the chickadees as “your first treasure.” A short accompanying text uses generic names for the birds to look for and gives readers some clues. The birds pictured can be found in San Francisco, the home of the author, but because she has chosen widespread species, most readers from all over the continent will recognize most of them. Besides the chickadees and owl, she hides bluebirds, sparrows, wrens, robins, warblers, doves, and hummingbirds. Complete common names for the actual birds shown are given in an afterword, and for each she includes a short paragraph of other information about appearance and behavior as well as a suggestion for further resources. The author/illustrator used watercolor and collage for her carefully painted images, which are a good combination of reasonably realistic and satisfyingly challenging.
Fun and surprisingly successful as an invitation to look closely at the natural world. (Informational picture book. 4-7)