… for toddlers that is. See there are a million and one fantastic picture books on birds, be they educational or purely for pleasure. (Ooh, sounds like a Top Ten list is in order soon!) But I really, really love this very simple one by Kevin Henkes titled Birds.
This must be the third time we’ve picked it up from the library now; I really should just get over myself and buy it already. I read it today to my near three year old daughter and five year old son and we loved it again. Our favorite part is when the tree yells “SURPRISE!!!” Get the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about. :o)
“Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind. Listen to the birds.
And don’t hate nobody.”
After just writing up an article for Soul Gardening‘s spring issue on wordless books, I am tickled to have found another one. Magpie Magic: A Tale of Colorful Mischief by April Wilson. The book a feast of imagery from the first person perspective as we see artist’s hands draw the magpie outside her window. As any good story book would have it, the bird then comes to life and what happens next is a witty sort of duel between the bird and artist which ends in a very satisfactory way.
I was unfamiliar with April Wilson and did a little googling to find out that she is an artist and art instructor in London. Her work is fantastic and I am eager to get my hands on some of her other books. I am rather dismayed to find that Magpie Magic seems to be out of print already after being published in 1999. Such a pity the treasures that get lost in the bloated publishing world. In any case, it was an especially welcome find at the library and I encourage you to seek it out yourself!
This is the latest thrift store cache, a smallish but respectable lot. First is a nice, sturdy hardback of the winter classic, Owl Moon, which I bought to replace my raggedy paperback copy. Next to that you see a mint condition copy of Sector 7 from that wordless master, David Wiesner. I am so happy to add that to my bookshelf! Then we add to our Tomie de Paola collection with Strega Nona Meets Her Match. Underneath you see a really novel book that is excellent to leave lying about near the breakfast table for the children to “discover.” It’s called: Nature Got There First: Inventions Inspired by Nature. But the real treasure Goodwill had to offer me was this book on bottom left called Owls by Tony Angell. It is fascinating. This is truly what a living book is all about.
Tony Angell is a naturalist and an artist and he writes and draws about eighteen different owl species with superb realism and from his own first hand experiences. (Read this lovely article on him here.) I never really thought much about owls, but they are a fascinating part of the bird family and this book is just the hook to draw someone in. I also discovered that Angell is actually from this area and he has several public sculptures around the Puget Sound that I hope to see at some point. The book is published through the University of Washington so it’s not a big mainstream seller, but it’s absolutely worth keeping an eye out for!