A sequence of birds answer the titular question with their signature sounds, accompanied by impressionistic paintings.
This book is a Dutch import via Scotland, and its origins show in the lineup, as five of the 12 birds represented do not typically occur in North America (and at least two others, the starling and the sparrow, are invasive imports). Still, although most North American children may not recognize the bullfinch or the Eurasian coot, they will get a kick out of chiming in as their caregivers read “Pipe pipe” or “Kowp kowp,” respectively. Botman presents each bird on a single page, the features closest to viewers (usually feather details) quite distinct, while the edges blur into dappled, soft-focus backgrounds. There is a peculiar inconsistency to the presentation: While the blue tit and great tit are represented opposite each other as two distinct species, for instance, a mute swan, a mallard drake, and a herring gull are described only as “swan,” “duck,” and “gull.” Still, there’s no denying the illustrations are very attractive, and the predictable pattern and onomatopoeia (“Chatter chatter says the magpie. / Chook chook says the blackbird”) vigorously support pre-literacy skills.
Though many of these birds aren’t likely to be found in most North American backyards, it’s nevertheless a friendly introduction to birds and bird calls for children on this side of the pond. (Board book. 1-3)