Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc CateCandlewick Press, 2013

Annette LeBlanc Cate is a hobbyist bird-watcher, an enthusiastic amateur rather than an expert, which is definitely a strength of this non-fiction picture book that serves as an introduction to birdwatching for kids. I like that the author emphasizes that anyone can watch birds, anywhere: you just need to pay attention (and it helps if you take notes/draw the birds you’re looking at). The ink and watercolor illustrations of this book are charming and funny and sometimes downright lovely: there are lots of cartoon birds complete with speech bubbles, and sometimes the layout is in panels like a comic, but my favorite pages were the ones with bigger/simpler background illustrations, like the one below that shows a branch of a tree with various birds perched on it, against a peach/orange sunrise-colored sky. Some of the spreads are a bit busy for me, though I do like the pages showing birds by color (a rainbow of birds, a page of black-and-white birds, a page of brown birds). And I like the strategies the book introduces, like: when you’re looking at a bird, pay attention to how it’s shaped, and what that might tell you about it (for example: you can probably tell birds that fish from birds that don’t, which is illustrated hilariously with a series of illustrations of a cardinal trying to fish, and not doing so well).

Look Up!






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