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by Jill Esbaum ; illustrated by Bob Shea

Pub Date: May 16th, 2023
ISBN: 9780593529522
Publisher: Putnam

A hoatzin and his son demonstrate their most amazing characteristic.

In this colorful introduction to the Amazon rainforest bird sometimes called the “stinkbird,” a father describes some distinctive traits, leading up to the revelation of the species’ “superpower.” That power isn’t in its “poopy smell,” which puts predators off adult hoatzins (though not chicks). It’s not its loud song. It’s not its habit of constructing precarious nests, perched over rivers where predators are less likely to reach the chicks, nor is it the fact that baby hoatzins can swim. It’s that the chicks have claws on their wings that allow them to climb back into the nests when they fall out. These scientific facts are embedded in a cheerful and humorous tale. Stylized digital illustrations show a gloriously red and orange father talking to his exuberant purple son in a cartoonlike rainforest setting. One scene depicts a forest full of potential predators, represented only by eyes in the shadows. Another gives faces to these threats—monkeys, snakes, and large birds. The father’s simple narrative is directed at readers and set directly on the images. Yellow speech bubbles indicate what he says to his son; the chick’s responses are in blue speech bubbles. Highlighting characteristics that will appeal to the intended audience (they’ll find the poop-related parts especially hilarious), this book would be a treat for a nature-themed storytime. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lively glimpse of a weird and wonderful bird.

(“true or false?” facts about hoatzins) (Informational picture book. 3-7)