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The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds Hardcover – March 20, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547003099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547003092
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 8.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“We've been knocked to our knees by the delightful illustrated essay collection… you don't have to care all that much about birds to get sucked into [Zickefoose’s] dreamy illustrated stories of bluebirds and phoebes, titmice and ospreys. In delicate, subtle strokes of the pen and brush, she reveals a lifetime of backyard friendships—moments spent observing a bluebird couple or listening to the calls of scarlet tanagers….Zickefoose has spent a lifetime observing this particular corner of the domestic-wild world, and she did not escape these experience without gaining both wisdom and humor—about mates, about our obligation to help others or set them free, about loss and about thankfulness." —Oprah.com’s Book of the Week

Library Journal’s BEST BOOKS OF 2012: Science & Technology

2013 Ohioana Book Award, nonfiction

"Birders will appreciate her meticulous observations and devotion to the avian world, but anyone who’s ever considered hanging a birdfeeder is likely to be mesmerized by the sensuous, precise prose as well as Zickefoose’s vivid portraits of scrawny, fluffy phoebe chicks, a self-possessed hummingbird perched on a clothesline, dwarfed by the surrounding clothespins, and orioles migrating by moonlight. Readers will be astounded by the drama and intelligence fluttering in their backyards." —Publishers Weekly

“a wonderful amalgam of nature writing and memoir…This lovely book is one to savor slowly, admiring both writing and artistry.” —Booklist, starred review

“Beguiling stories from a naturalist’s life with backyard birds....Describing her songbirds with a delicacy of words and brush strokes, Zickefoose makes learning about birds seem like the adventure of a lifetime. A wonderful treat for birders.” —Kirkus

"The Bluebird Effect" is a terrific read and a feast for the eyes. Buy! Buy! Buy!" —The Charleston Gazette

"insightful essays and lovely illustrations...[Zickefoose has] drawn sketches and painted vivid pictures with words, letting us see much more about those not-so-common lives outside our windows." —Seattle Times

About the Author

Julie Zickefoose began illustrating natural history subjects as a college freshman in 1976. Since then, her writing has been featured in Bird Watcher's Digest, on NPR's All Things Considered, and her book of illustrated essays Letters from Eden.


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Julie Zickefoose is a wonderful nature writer.
Kay E. Schaefer
This book would be appreciated by anyone who loves birds and enjoys watching them.
Marilyn Irwin
What a beautifully written book with stunning sketches.
L. Brock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Shana VINE VOICE on January 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What I absolutely love about this book is that it is written like a personal and heartfelt journal about the author's experiences with birds that she has rehabilitated and/or had other personal experiences with. This book has interesting facts about the birds along with details on their individual personalities. This isn't the standard and straightlaced ornithology book.

The author had long dreamed of being an Ornithologist, but couldn't get into the college she had dreamed of because of her math scores on the SAT. She turns this failure into a success as she gets to take an even more hands on approach working with birds, getting to the real and the personal side of birds. She describes her emotional bonds with the birds and documents how each of her birds is different in their personalities. I found it very touching and something most anyone would relate to.

This is really a beautiful book from the cover art throughout. It contains gorgeous drawings that the author drew of her inspirations, the birds in her care. It also includes interesting side notes that she kept on most of her willing subjects.

If you love birds or love reading about them, I'd highly suggest getting this book. This book is one I will treasure in my library for a long, long time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ste VINE VOICE on February 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm simply in awe. Julie Zickefoose is a marvel.

Zickefoose's dedication to bird rehabilitation in tandem with her insight as a writer and painter make this collection so incredibly engaging. She recounts her personal experiences and connections with 25 different species of birds, weaving comedy, tragedy, romance, and natural history into a rich, illustrated memoir of sorts. Zickefoose is a naturalist and a storyteller; she observes and conveys. And as she relates her tales through text and visual art, she becomes a guide for her audience to live her experiences as she has lived them, see what she has seen, and achieve a greater awareness of the complexity (and the undeniable individuality) of our avian cohabitants.

Bird lovers will delight in perusing this collection of stories and illustrations; they may also find some of their more emotional biases challenged (as I did mine). Zickefoose's sentimentalism is always tempered with realism, in a way that has impacted me deeply. Her views are logical; she actively criticizes and dissects her opinions where sensitive issues (e.g., hunting, protection of endangered species, euthanasia, keeping parrots as pets) are concerned. The resulting perspective she offers is diplomatic and, I believe, of immense value.

As I was reading an advanced copy, none of the illustrations were printed in color -- I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Serene Night on January 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Bluebird Effect is a charming book, about one woman's kindly and unique relationship with birds. Each story has loving illustrations of avian, and cute little comments, done in a scrapbook-style. The author really breathes life into the tiny creatures, and talks about them in such a way that they truly touch the heart.

I particularly liked the story about the bird with the twisted head, the author found and nursed back to health, but there are so many good ones it really is impossible to choose just a single story. I got the impression that the author and her husband truly cared about the animals they wrote about and spent so much time with.

The artist in particular really needs to be commended for the loving, cute and cheerful pictures of birds. I like the way that they are illustrated in a sketch-like manner inside the margins and including cute little notes. This is a great book for bird lovers or to send a friend. I know I will cherish this book on my keeper shelf.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was first introduced to the work of Julie Zickefoose through the magazine, "Bird Watcher's Digest," one of my favorite publications. I use the word "Introduced" but "captivated" would be a better description. Some time ago I also read her wonderful little book (Which happens to be on one of my reading tables beside my bed as I write this) entitled Letters From Eden: A Year at Home, in the Woods. What a delightful read that one was and is.

Had Ms. Zickefoose been writing and creating her art work over 150 years ago, during Victorian times, she would have been what those people of that era called a "Naturalist." I can think of a more fitting title or description of what this lady does. One of my favorite nature writers is the late Edwin Way Teale. I am going out on a limb here, I know, but as to writing skills, I must tell you that Julie Zickefoose is quite likely better than Teale.

The book being reviewed here consists of stories, essays really, dealing primarily with birds and the personal relationship the author has had with quite a number of them over the years. Many are accounts of bird rescues; many are accounts of bird behavior as they relate to the interaction with the author. This is not a traditional "bird book," but is actually much more. Birding (This is a term that we who participate use rather than "bird watching") is one of the fastest growing hobbies and outdoor activities in this country today. Quite often we loose sight of why we participate in this adventure. Ms.
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