A father and daughter go out birding.
At first she feels intimidated: Her brothers all go birding with their father, and they can easily tell birds apart. To the girl, however, they all look similar: “wings, beak, and legs.” Supplied with a pair of binoculars, she starts to find it easier to notice their characteristics. First to be spotted is the crow, “as black as a night without any moon or stars.” Once she has identified and “owned” the crow, she can see a red-winged blackbird and know that it is not a crow. She becomes more attuned to the shape, size, and markings of different birds by this method of “Crow Not Crow.” According to the jacket flap, co-author Stemple claims to have originated this unusual method of bird identification “in order to teach his city-bred wife to bird.” While it is clear that the method can inspire confidence in those who have no background in birding, it might be frustrating for readers not to know the names of other well-known birds featured in the illustrations until the end of the book. The birds are accurately rendered in Dulemba’s soft, colored-pencil illustrations, which also depict the birding pair as Asian. Descriptions and photos of all the birds illustrated are included in two spreads at the end, with QR codes for listening to their songs.
A solid choice for introducing the hobby to younger readers. (Picture book. 5-8)