MY BOOK OF BIRDS by Geraldo Valério


Age Range: 8 - 16
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An album of North American birds from a Brazilian-Canadian illustrator.

“I love the variety of birds, their colored feathers and their sense of freedom,” writes Valério in an introduction, and that affection is clear in this striking collection. The illustrations are collage, crafted from “old magazine paper, art paper, [and] gift wrap,” and though stylized, the birds are readily distinguishable. An osprey dominates one double-page spread, carrying a fish back to its nest across a heartbreakingly blue backdrop. Its paper components are clean-edged, layered in a fashion that both replicates the osprey’s distinctive markings and evokes individual feathers. The bird’s wing feathers are arranged with glimpses of blue between, giving a strong sense of airiness and loft. Each bird is labeled with both its common and Latin names, with a straightforward gloss that describes salient features and, often, another that provides a fascinating tidbit. In the case of the osprey, it’s on how the bird’s talons grip its prey. The book’s overall organization is haphazard—the golden eagle, the pelican, the osprey, and three types of swallow occupy the first four double-page spreads—but several spreads group bird families together; in addition to the swallows (purple martin, violet-green swallow, and barn swallow), the blue jay, the black-billed magpie, and the Steller’s jay appear together, as do five different types of warbler, for instance.

A delight to browse, the book also provides resources to further engage budding ornithologists. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-16)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-55498-800-6
Page count: 60pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2016


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