This square-format book consists of 13 spreads, each with a full-page close-up photograph of a common American species of bird.
These include the American robin, blue jay, Carolina chickadee, ruby-throated hummingbird, downy woodpecker, Northern mockingbird, red-winged blackbird, Eastern bluebird, brown pelican, great horned owl, American crow, Canada goose, and Northern cardinal. Each photo is annotated with factual labels in a cursive typeface and a salient fact about each species (did you know that the American robin is one of a few bird species that can both walk and hop?). The left page of each spread contains an original poem about the bird, along with a paragraph describing a scientific or historical aspect of the species. The last three pages contain “Story Stretchers”: extension activities in art, science, math, and music, which expand and develop the concepts expressed in the spreads, such as the different qualities of bird song, how hummingbirds move, and the rhythm of woodpeckers’ drumming. Although the book is stronger in math and science concepts than the arts––the quality of the poetry is uneven––the approach is consistent with the current educational trend toward fostering cross-disciplinary understanding of topics and will be useful for home-schooled children or as supplements to the elementary school curriculum. Butterflies, which publishes simultaneously, follows a similar format.
A sturdy and versatile curriculum companion. (Informational picture book. 4-8)