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Birds Hardcover – February 17, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-K—This brief introduction to birds focuses on such basic features as their different colors and sizes. Soft acrylic paintings that appear as spreads, vignettes, and framed scenes match a text that perfectly conveys the young narrator's fascination with the birds in her environment. "Once I saw seven birds on the telephone wire. They didn't move and they didn't move and they didn't move. I looked away for just a second…." Three lines of identically positioned birds on wires appear with the text across the spread. Then a page turn reveals a thick, black, empty wire stretched across a stark white spread along with the words "and they were gone." The youngster imagines what the sky would look like if the birds could make marks with their tails and how bird-clouds would look during the day and at night. She can't really fly like the birds, but the final page demonstrates one way in which she can imitate them. The child voice in this charming story is just right and will resonate with the very youngest children. And the little girl's musings can encourage more "what if" conversations that will spark their imaginations.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
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*Starred Review* Created by a husband-and-wife team, this delightful picture book bridges the space between concept books and longer narrative stories. An unseen narrator hears birds singing through an open window and looks out to see birds that represent concepts, such as color, shape, size, and number. The story becomes more sophisticated as it progresses. The narrator’s questions about birds open an exploration into more abstract, organic concepts about the natural environment: “If birds made marks with their tail feathers when they flew, think what the sky would look like,” for example. At the story’s end, the now-visible narrator, having imagined herself as a bird throughout the book, is back at her window, singing. Henkes’ spare, direct words have a lyrical magic, while Dronzek’s bright acrylic paintings, in saturated primary color and heavy black outlines, reflect the text’s plain elegance while carrying an exuberant energy all their own. One particularly memorable spread shows a large flock of black birds filling the sky in elegant trajectories of flight. Together, the words and pictures create a book that will enchant preschool audiences again and again. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Thom Barthelmess