by Michael J. Rosen; illus by Stan Fellows
64 pages; ages 5 and up
Candlewick Press, 2009
Themes: animals, nature, poetry
wild turkeys' snow tracks
their arrows point us one way
they go the other
This book is better than a bird guide! It's a haiku field notebook in which Michael Rosen captures the essential characteristics of twenty-four common North American birds. His spare observations are complemented by the gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Stan Fellows - who details everything from field markings to habitat.
What I love about this book: I like the way it is structured - by the seasons. It opens with spring, and the Eastern Bluebird.
on a staff of wires
blue notes inked from April skies
truly, springs first song
In addition to haiku, Rosen includes field notes: the chestnut throat and breast; the males are darker and brighter blue; that bluebirds are thrushes, related to robins. Fellows paints them perched on electrical wires like notes on a staff which, if I could read music, I could play on my recorder. What tune has he hidden in this illustration?
|a summer spread, featuring the Pileated Woodpecker and insect prey|
I like the details in the artwork - from showing the insects that the woodpeckers seek to wing bars, crests, and feather details. Each spread becomes a field trip into the world of that bird. At the back of the book, Rosen includes five pages of notes about the birds he features: their mating behavior, food preferences, flight and other things that curious bird-watchers will want to know.
Beyond the book: Write some bird haiku of your own. Spend time watching the birds at your feeder, or perched on a clothesline, or sipping water from a puddle in the parking lot at the grocery store. Start by drawing or jotting notes on the things you notice about this bird: feathers, crest, color of its beak or feet, whether it has a chin strap, eyebrows or wing bars. What is it doing? Where is it? What is the season and the weather?
Check out more haiku activities here. And head over to Archimedes Notebook today to check out a brand-new book about feathers and do some hands-on science activities. Drop by STEM Friday to see what other science books and resources bloggers are sharing.
Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.
On Monday we'll fly over to join the Nonfiction Monday round-up, where you'll find all kinds of great nonfiction for children and teens. Review copy borrowed from a library.