As the temperature warms up and Spring makes herself known, my children and I love to watch the birds reappear all around- in our backyard, in trees surrounding the playground, and by the lake in town. My youngest child at three is a big fan of predatory birds, loving any book that featured owls since he was a baby, while my almost-five year old daughter is more of a songbird kind of kid. My oldest, now ten, has happily shared my interest in reading and finding out info about birds his whole life as well. All of us are so very excited for the release of two new nonfiction picture books from Sterling Children’s Books.
Jim Arnosky’s Thunder Birds: Nature’s Flying Predators had me with one simple glance. I was seriously wowed by the details on the pencil and paint depiction of an osprey that graces the cover. Arnosky ranks at the top of my personal list of illustrators who render scenes from nature just perfectly. In addition to the incredible paintings here is a wealth of information- data on more than sixty predatory birds, including eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, pelicans, loons and more. With fold-out pages, many of the illustrations are depicted life-size, in fact!
Arnosky’s note at the beginning of the book conveys his sincere interest and appreciation for nature, and his love for birds is palpable in this book. Many margins are dotted with small pencil sketches of details like a heron’s foward-facing eyes a close-up depiction of owl wing feathers or talons. To introduce each group of birds, he shares his knowledge and short anecdotes of his personal experiences. Thunder Birds: Nature’s Flying Predators is a must-have for any bird-loving child’s bookshelf.
Another interesting resource book with a unique and impressive back story is the newly released Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf by Olivia Bouler. At only eleven years of age, Olivia Bouler is a talented artist, acutely observant ornithologist-in-training, and incredible fundraiser. With the promise to send donors original pieces of her bird-inspired artwork, Olivia has raised over $150,000 in donations to the Audubon’s Gulf oil spill recovery program! She’s articulate and passionate about nature, and she encourages children to remember that everyone can make a difference.
Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf is part field guide, part awareness raising, with paintings and information on over fifty birds, from backyard birds to sea birds. She also includes information and suggestions for other children who would like to be more eco-friendly in their own lives.
Without hesitation, I’m placing both Thunder Birds: Nature’s Flying Predators and Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf in our 5 Star Reads category, for their value as resources, their amazing artwork, and the encouragement they offer to children to enjoy, to be amazed, and to take care of the natural world around them.
This giveaway is closed.
I’m so happy to be able to share the birdy fun with a 5 Minutes for Books reader! We have a copy of each book to give away to one winner, please leave a comment here to be entered. (U.S. residents only, please.) We’ll announce the winner on 5/18.
Dawn is so happy to have three bird-loving kids of her own. Their adventures, including those in the great outdoors, are chronicled on her blog, my thoughts exactly.