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Look Up!

cate_look upHere’s an information book created by an enthusiast rather than an expert. Cate doesn’t claim to know everything about birds, but she does hope that her enthusiasm is catching. In fact, she uses every last bit of space in this book, endpaper to endpaper, to give advice in a lighthearted and nonthreatening way.

What do you make of the multiple ways she delivers information? Is it confusing to have anthropomorphized word balloons along with information about scientific observation? Who is the book for?

I would have to assume that no teacher would make an entire class read this book together. But if (for example) the class was in the habit of checking in on Cornell’s live nest cams every day after lunch, then I hope this book and a few other books about birds would available for anyone who was hooked on birds.

Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.



  1. Diwen Shi says:

    I love this book. Though it carries so much information that may not be entirely covered by a single reader at a time, it depicts bird-watching as such an adorable hobby. In fact, I think the witty conversations between the birds are for readers to explore over time, so that they can have new discoveries when opening this book again. It is certainly not organized in a traditional sense, but it is absolutely engaging to me.

  2. Felicity Fu says:

    The combination of different forms of narration is amazing in this book. Even as an adult, I feel like I can read the book multiple times. The author includes himself and explains his interest in birds in a very personalized and approachable fashion. He also stands in the perspectives of the young readers who may have many questions in mind. Later, he adds tips that help with objectively observing birds in scientific fashions. Structuring the information of books from in general to specific pattern also allows reader learn systematic. As an information book, “Look Up” is definitely an interesting and captive read, especially with such vivid pictures and dialogues of birds and characters!

  3. Long Phan says:

    This is a beautifully illustrated book. I adore the vibrant colors on every page, especially the “Rainbow of Color” double-page spread. The illustration style reminds me of a comic book, and each of the birds have a very distinct and hilarious personality. Jam-packed with information, this book is best digested a few pages at a time. I found it very difficult to get through everything in one sitting, but the book provides a lot of “replay value” since the reader can discover something new every time he/she opens it. The author left no space unutilized. Annette Cate filled up every single space (book cover, flap jacket, front and back flap, endpapers, copyright page, bibliography, and index) with funny illustrations, facts, or advice. Lots of things to see, read, and learn!

  4. Nancy Fan says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a feast for the eyes! The anthropomorphic qualities given to the birds makes it a creative blend of fiction and nonfiction, rendering the book approachable for people of all ages and interests, not just bird enthusiasts. I especially loved the humorous words of the birds. The style of the art, somewhat cartoonlike yet still reasonably realistic, maintains the laid-back tone of inviting exploration.

  5. Kim Fernandes says:

    The book was beautiful, but I had to think for quite a while about how I would use it in my own classroom. It is a wealth of information and the tone seems like it has been written for a child, but the amount of information in the book (and the number of times one may have to read the book to fully absorb everything that’s in there) makes me wonder if this is perhaps more suitable in a classroom of adolescents. I also wonder how the tone itself would go down with adolescents, particularly some of the wit — I’ve never taught adolescents myself and would be interested to hear from anyone who might have used this in their classroom.

  6. Nell O'Donnell says:

    This book was so funny! I didn’t expect a book about bird watching to make me laugh so much. I wish the more informational books could be as entertaining, while still at the same time being practical, useful, and educational. I did wonder (as did some of the commenters before me) who exactly the target audience was, their age range, and how the book could be used other than as a home/personal ownership book.

  7. Annette LeBlanc Cate says:

    Hello everyone! Thank you so much for your comments! I am so honored that you have chosen my book to discuss today. It is so, so gratifying to hear that people really like my book and enjoy sharing it with their students! I know there is a lot of information in my book …. thanks for sticking with me throughout my hundreds of talk bubbles, I really appreciate it!
    -Annette LeBlanc Cate

  8. Robin TF says:

    I loved the illustrations. They made me laugh in a familiar way that I couldn’t put quite put my finger on, until I realized that they reminded me of the illustrations from the show Dr. Katz. A quick IMDB search confirmed my suspicions that Ms. Cate was in fact the illustrator from that show. With Dr. Katz and with Look Up! I was hugely impressed that drawings which involve a relatively simple facial detail can express such a range of emotion and humor.

  9. Annette LeBlanc Cate says:

    Hello Robin! Wow… you are quite a detective! Was it my googly eyes that gave me away? That is so funny to me that you figured that out… i think you are the first! I am just so delighted. Thanks so much for the nice comments! (and for have watched Dr. Katz, too!)

  10. Sam Bloom says:

    Wow, you just blew my mind; I used to watch Dr Katz a bunch, and I loved this book, but I NEVER would have figured it out. But now that Robin pointed it out it seems so obvious! Awesome work, Robin! (And you too of course, Annette…)

  11. Annette LeBlanc Cate says:

    hey, thanks Sam! It’s always nice to hear that someone watched Dr. Katz! (and i really didn’t think anyone would ever make the connection!) Thanks!

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