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ALL THE BIRDS IN THE WORLD

A simple but effective introduction to the “feathered family.”

A kiwi from New Zealand discovers how it differs from other birds in the world and what it shares with them.

Opie here demonstrates his skills as a wildlife illustrator, ably capturing the look of particular species in this grand collection that demonstrates bird similarities and differences. Over 100 different bird images appear in the backgrounds, placed amid blue skies, wispy clouds, and bits of vegetated ground. The first-time author/illustrator provides a straightforward text that simply but effectively gets his point across. All birds have feathers, wings, and beaks, but after that they can be astonishingly different. Spread after spread, he shows how they vary in coloration, shape and size, nests, eggs, feet, beaks, where they fly or swim, and sounds and songs. Some birds are shown flying; others perch, stand on the ground, wade in shallow water, or dive and swim. On many spreads, a stumpy little brown bird asks “What about me?” A final spread describes the kiwi in detail, including its eggs, burrows, hidden wings, and furlike feathers. Though flightless, it’s still part of the wide-ranging bird family. This attractive title includes many of the more-colorful species a North American child might encounter either in books or in their own experience. With the identifications that appear in the three pages of backmatter, it makes an ideal framework for a fledgling birder’s practice.

A simple but effective introduction to the “feathered family.” (author’s note, more about kiwis) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4413-3329-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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HUMMINGBIRD

A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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