THE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF THE HOUSE SPARROW by Jan Thornhill
Kirkus Star

THE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF THE HOUSE SPARROW

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 14
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An examination of perhaps “the most despised bird in human history!”

In this masterfully conceived and beautifully illustrated picture book, Thornhill examines a bird whose history is in some ways the opposite of her previous bird study, The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk (2016). She examines ways in which the house sparrow’s ancestors adapted to changing human environments, starting with early agriculture in the Middle East through construction of cities that provided “nesting cavities in buildings, plenty of grain, and insects to feed its hatchlings.” Although hunted as a pest, sparrows persisted and spread all over the world. They stowed away to Britain in Roman ships and were eventually carried to New York City and across the United States by migrants, living on grain used for livestock. The population fell dramatically when horse transportation declined and even more in recent years when food supply and nesting sites were drastically reduced due to modern building methods. Thornhill advocates careful analysis of this decline, given the house sparrow’s unique ability to adapt to a fast-changing environment. She places her text against meticulously painted double-page spreads that depict the birds piled up for pies in an old Dutch kitchen, in a boxcar with cattle heading west, and succumbing to Mao’s anti-sparrow campaign.

Superbly designed nonfiction with a powerful environmental message. (map, glossary, list of adaptive species, resources, references) (Informational picture book. 9-14)

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-77306-006-4
Page count: 44pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2018




MORE BY JAN THORNHILL

ChildrenI AM JOSEPHINE by Jan Thornhill
by Jan Thornhill
ChildrenTHE TRAGIC TALE OF THE GREAT AUK by Jan Thornhill
by Jan Thornhill
ChildrenKYLE GOES ALONE by Jan Thornhill
by Jan Thornhill
ChildrenIS THIS PANAMA? by Jan Thornhill
by Jan Thornhill

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenA PLACE FOR BIRDS by Melissa Stewart
by Melissa Stewart
ChildrenAVIARY WONDERS INC. by Kate Samworth
by Kate Samworth
ChildrenRED KNOT by Nancy Carol Willis
by Nancy Carol Willis