Pretty Birds

Check out this pair of sweet bird books that will have little chicks peeping with joy:

Check out this pair of sweet bird books that will have your little chicks peeping with joy:

 

Jump, Little Wood Ducks, by Marion Dane Bauer, photographs by Stan Tekila, Adventure Publications; $14.95, 32 pages, ages 1-4. 

Wood ducks are perfectly named because they nest in the holes of trees. Though safe from certain predators, freshly hatched ducklings can’t fly yet, and getting out of the nest requires a real leap of faith, since some nests can be thirty feet high. Newbery Honor winner Marion Dane Bauer’s latest children’s book imagines the conversation between a mother wood duck and her anxious chicks as they survey their first real challenge. Nature photographer Stan Tekiela’s high-resolution images of wood ducklings are highly entertaining and encourage in-depth examination.

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Blue Penguin, by Petr Horacek, Candlewick Press; 15.99, 32 pages, ages 1-6. 

Petr Horacek has built a career sketching adorable parrots, geese, puffins, and other creatures to great acclaim–the Washington Post even called him “the thinking tot’s Eric Carle” back in 2006 when Silly Suzy Goose first appeared. Here, Blue Penguin feels just like a regular penguin, but the other birds don’t think he belongs and exclude him. Blue Penguin spends his days alone, singing a beautiful melody, until one day a small penguin asks Blue Penguin to teach him the song. Day by day, the duo become friends, and Horacek’s lovely ode to friendship and inclusion is a reminder that what unites us is more than skin-deep.

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BLUE PENGUIN. Copyright 2015 by Petr Horacek. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.

 

 

I Am Henry Finch

literarykids:

I am Henry Finch, by Alexis Deacon, illustrations by Viviane Schwarz; Candlewick Press, $16.99, 40 pages, ages 3-6.

Henry Finch knows he’s destined for greatness, but until now, all he’s done in life is flutter from tree to tree, outwitting the hungry beast who prowls below. One day Henry has enough of the lubmering creature eating his friends, and realizes this is his chance to be great. Well, Henry ends up in the belly of the beast, but what he does there is a charming ode to courage and resilience. Author Alexis Deacon (llustrator of Russell Hoban’s Soonchild) confirms with wit and humor that heroes can appear from the least likely of places. The birds are rendered as red thumbprints and stick figure illustration (courtesy of There Are Cats In This Book author-illustrator Viviane Schwarz), a reminder that we are all unique and capable of soaring high.

@Candlewick #TBThursday goes to the birds.

I am Henry Finch, by Alexis Deacon, illustrations by Viviane Schwarz; Candlewick Press, $16.99, 40 pages, ages 3-6.

Henry Finch knows he’s destined for greatness, but until now, all he’s done in life is flutter from tree to tree, outwitting the hungry beast who prowls below. One day Henry has enough of the lubmering creature eating his friends, and realizes this is his chance to be great. Well, Henry ends up in the belly of the beast, but what he does there is a charming ode to courage and resilience. Author Alexis Deacon (llustrator of Russell Hoban’s Soonchild) confirms with wit and humor that heroes can appear from the least likely of places. The birds are rendered as red thumbprints and stick figure illustration (courtesy of There Are Cats In This Book author-illustrator Viviane Schwarz), a reminder that we are all unique and capable of soaring high.

Sweep Up the Sun, by Helen Frost, photographs by Rick Lieder; Candlewick Press, 32 pages, $15.99, all ages. (Published March 10)

Haven’t we all had that dream where we’re flying with the birds? Live out those fantasies while reading award-winning author Helen Frost’s lyrical invitation to soar alongside feathered friends in Sweep Up the Sun. At its most basic level, the poem is exploring birds in flight, but it is also a rally for cooped-up children to return outdoors, to spread their wings, and take off for unexpected adventures. Stunning, in-flight photographs of Chickadees, Cardinals, White-Breasted Nuthatches are courtesy of Rick Lieder, who previously collaborated with Frost on Step Gently Out. An informative glossary (with information gleaned from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) provides distinctive characteristics, migration patterns and feeding habits of the eleven birds featured in the book. Consider this volume a lovely introduction to backyard birding, an invitation to observe these beautiful creatures often perched just outside our windows.

NEST images ©2014 Jorey Hurley. Reproduced with permission from Simon & Schuster

Nest, by Jorey Hurley; Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 40 pages, ages 0-5.

Debut children’s book author and illustrator JoreyHurley has crafted a lovely book about the life cycle of a robin, while incorporating a look at the seasons and raising a family. Starting in spring, two robins build a nest, lay an egg, and the family grows alongside blooming leaves and blades of grass.  Hurley’s illustrations are sharp visual feasts, rendered entirely in Photoshop yet looking very much like paper collage.  Most illustrations are double spreads with one word defining the action.  Like many great children’s books nowadays, this one includes author’s notes where robin nesting and incubation habits are explored in greater detail for adult readers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST  images © 2014 Steve Jenkins. Reproduced with permission from Beach Lane Books 

Mama Built a Little Nest, by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins; Beach Lane Books, $16.99, 40 pages, ages 4-7.

Veteran nature writer Jennifer Ward (I Love Dirt!) teams up with Caldecott Honoree Steven Jenkins (What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?) to showcase the different ways birds build nests using all sorts of tufted materials. Each spread features a different bird with a read-aloud rhyme on the left, and supporting information for grownups and older readers on the right page. Jenkins’ masterful collages of woodpeckers, weaverbirds and wrens are large, bright and inviting. The author’s notes elaborate on the architectural ingenuity of nest building and also include resources for further avian exploration.

HAVE YOU HEARD THE NESTING BIRD images ©2014 Kenard Pak. Reproduced with permission from HMH Books for Young Readers 

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? By Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak; HMH Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 4-8.

Bird books are wonderful reasons to employ onomatopoeia, and Rita Gray’s latest foray in nonfiction joyfully employs this device. Written in rhyming call and response format, the story is at once active and calm, asking readers to step back and listen to the distinctive and musical sounds of nesting birds around them. Dreamworks artist Kenard Pak debuts as a book illustrator with lovely watercolors and digital media. Double page spreads of crows taking flight and robins sitting on their eggs evoke the soft, first-blush colors of spring. A mock interview with a mother bird (“A Word with the Bird”) cheerfully explains nesting bird behavior as well as best practices for human-avian interaction.