On a snowy winter morning, a mother and child participate in the annual Christmas bird count, finding a satisfying variety to report to fellow birders at the nature center.
This appealing introduction to a National Audubon Society tradition involving birders and families throughout the Americas is set in what is probably the northeast quadrant of the United States, judging from the birds the protagonists see. While the two crunch quietly through the snow through a forest to a pond, they encounter blue jays, a red-bellied woodpecker, a tufted titmouse, a golden-crowned kinglet, a yellow-rumped warbler, a chickadee, a nuthatch, and more. The text is full of sounds as well as sights. Information about the count, now more than 100 years old, and use of bird-watching tools such as a clipboard, field guide, and binoculars is neatly interwoven. A middle spread offers the scientific rationale for this tradition and shows a diverse range of individual and family participants. For the child missing the grandfather with whom they used to do the count, seeing his favorite mourning dove is a pleasing climax. The birds pictured in the digitally finished images are appropriately identifiable. The androgynous-looking child, who has pale skin and brown hair, is described as a boy named Jay on the cover and jacket copy. Backmatter includes a history of the bird count and a checklist suitable to the Northeastern states.
A sweet suggestion for a family nature activity. (Picture book. 5-9)