A light-skinned, blond boy and his light-skinned, brown-haired mother wander through the woods, looking at birds.
Presumably in an effort to encourage observation and to allow the child to relate to wildlife, they play a (awkwardly worded) game called “Am I Like You?” in which they address the questions “What birds are like us? / What birds are we like?” The illustrations are skillfully drawn, bold, and Disney-esque in aesthetic, clearly and accurately portraying characteristics of common North American birds: American robin, chickadee, cardinal, blue jay, red-tailed hawk, hummingbird, Canada goose, mallard, great blue heron, pigeon, and owl. However if the intention of this book is to introduce characteristics of birds to young children, it falls short. The text consists of poorly scanned, sometimes confusing verse that anthropomorphizes birds but does little to illuminate their true characteristics and habits, in some cases even obscuring them. This book seems to bend over backward to popularize nature study and in doing so, dumbs it down by providing too little factual information for a curious child or for a teacher or parent to share with a young reader. Surely the resources of the publisher, the respected Cornell Lab of Ornithology, could be tapped to provide a child-friendly technical guide to the birds portrayed.
More a 21st-century meditation on selfhood than an encouragement to quiet observation. (Picture book. 4-6)