An album of bird portraits from around the world, created and curated by a British ornithologist.
In his introduction, bird-watcher Sewell describes this as “my personal selection of the most amazing birds in the world—the most beautiful, strange, scary, speedy, and enchanting.” He’s organized his collection loosely by continent, preceding each chapter with a map outlining and labeling the countries. There’s no index, but the birds described in each section are listed by page number on the map spread. As with Narisa Togo’s Magnificent Birds (2017), a compilation with a similar premise but far fewer entries, this includes stylized images accompanied by a challenging text. Even adult readers will appreciate the author’s nimble word choice, his humor, and his admirable descriptive abilities. A Himalayan monal (Asia) is a “thoroughly pleasant pheasant.” Of the Andean cock-of-the rock (South America): “The males are dressed in an effervescent, glowing orange-red with what look like metallic silver solar panels on their backs.” Flat, full-color images of each bird are set on a white background. These are labeled with the bird’s common and scientific names. They’re reasonably accurate and certainly identifiable, though not to scale. Each of the 140 or so entries includes one or two paragraphs of descriptive text as well as the bird’s length in English units and where in the world it might be found. Unscientific, perhaps, but appreciative and informative.
Enchanting, indeed. An invitation to a world of ornithological wonders. (Nonfiction. 8-12)