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Review of My Book of Birds

valerio_my book of birdsMy Book of Birds
by Geraldo Valério; 
illus. by the author
Primary    Groundwood    60 pp.
4/16    978-1-55498-800-6    $24.95
e-book ed.  978-1-55498-801-3    $19.95

In an introductory note, amateur birdwatcher Valério describes this book as “my album of artistic impressions of North American birds.” Each species is introduced with its common name, scientific name, and a descriptive paragraph touching on aspects of the bird’s appearance, behavior, and/or habitat. The types of facts vary from bird to bird, clearly reflecting what has piqued the author’s interest. The collage illustrations (made from old magazines, gift wrap, and other papers) are formed mainly from bold, blocky pieces, and the images, though somewhat stylized, are keenly accurate in capturing the essence of each bird and the distinctive features that aid in its identification — the shapes of wings and tilts of beaks, the twist of a neck or plume of a tail. Although the backgrounds are spare, close observers will marvel at the clever subtlety in the habitat details. It is remarkable how just a few precisely shaped and placed collage elements can convey the differences between marshy grasses and winter-berried trees, or the calm surface of a lake and the wavy surface of an ocean. Don’t skip the endpapers, which contain arrays of eggs and feathers (not to scale) that continue the emphasis on careful observation of the similarities and differences across species. Further information, along with a glossary and an index, is appended.

From the July/August 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford About Danielle J. Ford

Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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