Birds and opposites converge in this book for budding ornithologists.
Created digitally, the birds’ portraits are accurate and even elegant, but they never achieve the feel of a bird about to take wing. While a momma swallow swooping toward chicks or a close-up of robins in a nest stand out for their robust scenery and hints of motion, the majority of the double-page spreads feel as flat and posed as a museum diorama. As a concept book, it’s quite serviceable. While a few of the 10 pairings flop—its “FAST” falcon appears as static as its “SLOW” heron companion—most, such as a “FULL” feeder packed with seeds and feasting birds adjacent to a forlorn “EMPTY” feeder, are clear and comprehensible. Problematically, the brief preambles that introduce each spread are drably uninteresting, and nearly all are sentence fragments that are clunky when read aloud. On the final page, small labeled bird portraits, each with a scannable QR code, link readers to a variety of calls with a free app download. Avid birders might appreciate hearing these songs, though having them clustered at the end rather than integrated throughout the book requires fiddly page flips. Colorful tabs on the right margins labeling the opposites act as an index.
Opposites are adequately covered, but while this ambitious board book aims high, it never quite soars. (Board book. 2-4)