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And Other Poems of Birds in Flight

by Susan Vande Griek ; illustrated by Mark Hoffmann

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-77138-995-2
Publisher: Kids Can

Poetry and prose combine to introduce distinctive ways birds move through the air.

“Always, and in their own special ways, / birds are on the move.” Writer Vande Griek repeats this line in the poems that begin and end this title, which introduces young readers and listeners to some specialized vocabulary used to describe bird movements as well as some interesting behaviors of 12 specific species, from Atlantic puffins to wood pewees. Each spread features a different species, usually shown as groups in flight against the background of a sky and some stylized scenery. Set on the illustration are both a poem and a paragraph of explanatory text. The free-verse poetry uses many techniques: repeated sounds and lines, internal rhymes, measured meter, and even shapes. It begs to be read aloud. These words introduce birds who might be encountered in at least some parts of North America, some splendid new vocabulary (peregrines “stoop," crows “mob," starlings move in “murmurations”), and a simplified explanation of the mechanics of flight. Hoffmann’s natural-hued illustrations amplify the word-pictures. His paintings have clear angular lines, emphasizing the idea of flight. They also lead readers forward to the next page. Backmatter includes further information about each species, including where they can be found, details of their feathers, and a helpful glossary.

A fresh and original approach to the study of birds and words.

(Informational picture book. 6-10)