Birds have beaks and wings and begin as eggs, like some other animals, but only a bird has feathers.
A step up from Susan Stockdale's Bring on the Birds (2011), this is similarly simple and straightforward, just right for preschool listeners. But it has the added attraction of accurate, full-page or double-page–spread illustrations of more than 40 species of birds, labeled and shown in typical habitats. From common ostriches and a superb starling facing each other on an east African savannah to the rock pigeon standing on one foot on an urban windowsill, these examples range widely in size, appearance, habits and familiarity. A song sparrow graces the title page, and there are two varieties of domestic chickens, but there are also exotic birds such as the resplendent quetzal and toco toucan. Short, declarative sentences explain some uses of beaks and wings. A blue-headed parrot picks fruit; a pileated woodpecker pecks at a tree; an Andean condor soars, and king penguins swim. “But wait!” the author says, and she cites examples of animals with beaks, wings and eggs that aren’t birds: platypus, housefly, milk snake. Only birds have feathers (handsomely displayed on a male peacock). Feathers help a bird stand out or blend in, fly, and stay warm and dry—and make a bird a bird, in a nicely child-friendly summation.
Widely useful, this should be a welcome addition to the nature shelf. (Informational picture book. 3-7)