Review of How to Find a Bird

How to Find a Bird
by Jennifer Ward; illus. by Diana Sudyka
Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.    g
8/20    978-1-4814-6705-6    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6706-3    $10.99

“There are a lot of ways to find a bird.” The two children in this enticing and beautiful picture book demonstrate how. After doing their best to blend in to the landscape, move slowly, and stay quiet, the boy and girl look up into the sky (to spot hawks and starlings and geese), down at the ground (robins and burrowing owls), down at the water (spoonbills and sandpipers), and straight ahead at tree trunks (whippoorwills and brown creepers). Backyard bird feeders mean that birds will come to you, in which case “all you need is a window to find a bird.” The book ends with the advice that the best way to find a bird is to close your eyes and listen: and a glorious double-page spread follows showing a riot of color and bird species and birdcalls. The text pulls readers in with its welcoming and encouraging tone — as well as occasional humor. Rendered in watercolor gouache and finished digitally, the art manages to be both informative and gorgeous. There’s a lot of variation in the page-turns: a motion-filled spread of birds in flight is followed by a still one showing a host of starlings (and a hawk!) at rest on telephone wires; white space is used effectively as well. The book concludes with a spread of “tools and tips” for becoming a bird watcher and even a citizen scientist.

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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