Following Stack the Cats (2017), here is another fun opportunity for young thinkers to use their observational skills.
The birds, mostly deep aqua and olive, alight (sometimes) on a tree with many branches, set against striking backgrounds of orange, yellow, aqua, and blue. “Here come the birds! // Half on the left side / and half on the right. // This is how / the birds balance!”: four on each side. Soon a squirrel upsets things and triggers further permutations. Most young children will follow the process easily, until that pesky squirrel scares all but one bird away. When a big white owl shows up, “How will these birds balance?” Five small birds fly in to “balance” one big one. Without knowing the weights involved, the idea of balance becomes very abstract. Finally, many types of birds of all sizes and shapes (and the squirrel) appear on the tree. The tree looks balanced again. This last double-page spread asks the open-ended question: “How will you / balance the birds?” It is an impossible question to answer given the visual information available. For some readers, it will just prove frustrating. For others, it may open up the path to physical experimentation with simple toys or equipment, if there are cooperative adults around.
As visually exciting as Stack the Cats but not as successful conceptually, this attractive book can still lead to fruitful discussions and scientific play. (Picture book. 3-5)