For the birds: Wonderful picture books about birds


It’s summer and the birds are everywhere — including some fabulous picture book to read to young children and not-so-young children. Even adults will enjoy this bunch of feathery, bird-filled books.

“Bartholomew Quill: A Crow’s Quest to Know Who’s Who” by Thor Hanson is illustrated by Dana Arnim (Sasquatch Books). It’s a story that is perfect for young children learning about comparing and contrasting. The title character, a black bird, is trying to figure out what (and who) he is. Bartholomew travels and meets many animals, most of them birds, and the text compares the crow to the other animals.

One water bird says to him, “I dive and I float in a waterproof coat. My diet is fish and crustacean. We’re both black and sleek, but you lack a bright beak, so you cannot be my close relation!” The book is written with a catchy meter that will engage the reader.

“Cockatoo, Too” by Bethanie Deeney Murguia (little bee books) is a beautifully illustrated, clever picture book that kids will — both the illustrations and the words. The first page shows a picture of a cockatoo with just one word of text, “Cockatoo.” The next page shows the same bird with the text, “Cockatoo two?” Ask the kids why it says “two.” Is there a second cockatoo? Then be prepared to explain the difference between “Cockatoo, too” and “Two cockatoos!” There is even a gift labeled: “To: cockatoos.” Between the lovely bright illustrations and the clever word play, this picture book is sure to become a favorite!

“Hoot and Peep” by Lita Judge (Dial Books) is the story of a brother and sister owl. The older brother wants to teach his sister about the proper owl way to behave, but she has other ideas. The story explore what it means to be different, and how sometimes, being different has its own rewards. Perfect for opening a discussion about differences in people, behavior, and strengths. The illustrations are lovely and will keep a young child’s attention. This would be a wonderful addition to any classroom library.

“Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey (Viking Books for Young Readers) recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. This classic story was groundbreaking when it was originally published in 1941. Most picture books were in black and white, but McCloskey whose sepia which he thought was warmer in its effect. He also included aerial views of Boston, which few people had seen in this era before plane travel because so common. It would be fun to read this book to students and then show them Youtube videos of the same thing happening to this day. Some things are timeless — like our love of baby animals.



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