This introductory guide is a smorgasbord of information about the more common species of birds.
The beginning spreads introduce children to habitat and critical bird identifiers, including size, behavior, plumage and song. The left-hand page of each subsequent spread profiles one bird with a magazine-style patchwork of interesting facts, trivia and even poems about the bird. The opposite page includes more fascinating tidbits and key characteristics of the featured bird and brief descriptions of other related birds, grouped by habitat. (Did you know the American robin eats 68 worms a day or that the barn owl has asymmetrical earholes?) While clearly intended for North American readers, the book also profiles several Eurasian birds, among them the British blue tit, magpie, golden oriole and Eurasian jay. This may cause confusion or at least disappointment, since North American readers are highly unlikely ever to encounter these birds. The European golden oriole seems a particularly awkward choice, as it is pictured alongside the North American Baltimore oriole, which is not related to the Eurasian species but is a member of the blackbird family.
Nevertheless, Kurki’s attractive and colorful illustrations and the wealth of information in this unusual bird book will encourage children to observe the birds around them, whichever continent they may inhabit. (Nonfiction. 8-12)