A treasure for browsers and bird lovers everywhere.

READ REVIEW

FLY WITH ME

A CELEBRATION OF BIRDS THROUGH PICTURES, POEMS, AND STORIES

Yolen and her three children celebrate birds with a lavishly illustrated compendium of facts, photographs, and poetry.

This lovingly compiled collection begins with a lengthy section of articles describing birds, their anatomy, and their nests, and it ends with suggestions for attracting birds to your backyard. In between are chapters about prehistoric birds (dinosaurs), birds in history, state birds (each with a full-page photograph and two fast facts), listening to birds, looking at birds, bird migration, saving species, bird records, birds in the arts and in story, and citizen science. The authors of each text piece, song, and poem are identified in the backmatter; photo credits show that these splendid images come from around the world. There’s even a list of the scientific names of the birds in order of their appearance in the text. Dedicated to Yolen’s husband and the Stemples’ father, David Stemple, an ardent birder and bird-song recordist, this oversized volume is a treat to look at and to read. It includes a list of films to watch (“Birds are notoriously difficult to train to perform on stage or screen”), nicely retold myths and fables from around the world (with a map), two Audubon paintings, and carefully crafted poems including one about flock names. As is characteristic of National Geographic publications, the plentiful photographs are well-chosen and beautifully reproduced.

A treasure for browsers and bird lovers everywhere. (authors’ notes, acknowledgements, find out more, index) (Nonfiction. 8-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3181-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Pretty but insubstantial.

THE BIG BOOK OF BIRDS

Zommer surveys various bird species from around the world in this oversized (almost 14 inches tall tall) volume.

While exuberantly presented, the information is not uniformly expressed from bird to bird, which in the best cases will lead readers to seek out additional information and in the worst cases will lead to frustration. For example, on spreads that feature multiple species, the birds are not labeled. This happens again later when the author presents facts about eggs: Readers learn about camouflaged eggs, but the specific eggs are not identified, making further study extremely difficult. Other facts are misleading: A spread on “city birds” informs readers that “peregrine falcons nest on skyscrapers in New York City”—but they also nest in other large cities. In a sexist note, a peahen is identified as “unlucky” because she “has drab brown feathers” instead of flashy ones like the peacock’s. Illustrations are colorful and mostly identifiable but stylized; Zommer depicts his birds with both eyes visible at all times, even when the bird is in profile. The primary audience for the book appears to be British, as some spreads focus on European birds over their North American counterparts, such as the mute swan versus the trumpeter swan and the European robin versus the American robin. The backmatter, a seven-word glossary and an index, doesn’t provide readers with much support.

Pretty but insubstantial. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-500-65151-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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WORLD WITHOUT FISH

The author of Cod (1997) successfully provides readers with a frightening look at the looming destruction of the oceans. Brief sections in graphic-novel format follow a young girl, Ailat, and her father over a couple of decades as the condition of the ocean grows increasingly dire, eventually an orange, slimy mess mostly occupied by jellyfish and leatherback turtles. At the end, Ailat’s young daughter doesn’t even know what the word fish means. This is juxtaposed against nonfiction chapters with topics including types of fishing equipment and the damage each causes, a history of the destruction of the cod and its consequences, the international politics of the fishing industry and the effects of pollution and global warming. The final chapter lists of some actions readers could take to attempt to reverse the damage: not eating certain types of fish, joining environmental groups, writing to government officials, picketing seafood stores that sell endangered fish, etc. Whenever an important point is to be made, font size increases dramatically, sometimes so that a single sentence fills a page—attention-getting but distractingly so. While it abounds with information, sadly, no sources are cited, undermining reliability. Additionally, there are no index and no recommended bibliography for further research, diminishing this effort’s value as a resource. Depressing and scary yet grimly entertaining. (Nonfiction/graphic-novel hybrid. 10 & up)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5607-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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