cover image The Bird Book

The Bird Book

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, illus. by Steve Jenkins. Clarion, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-35-832569-7

Via avian trivia and technical illustrations in cut-paper collage, the longtime collaborators (The Shark Book) invite browsers to a visually jaunty, loosely organized compendium positioned for budding bird nerds. The late Jenkins assembles paper snipped and torn into naturalistic portraits of some of the world’s 10,000-plus bird species: a blue-gray shoebill stork with its massive sand-colored beak, a pileated woodpecker clinging to a tree, a speckled Humboldt penguin leaving a trail of bubbles in mottled blue seawater, and extinct “ancient giants,” including a terror bird, teratorn, and moa. A labeled American robin models bird basics, including hollow bones for lightweight flight, a multipurpose bill, and feathery insulation. Double spreads spotlight single specimens in a shared space against a clean white backdrop, a format that lends itself to uncontextualized captions. General notes reveal that flocks “sense the Earth’s magnetic field” to migrate and “see ultraviolet light” that humans don’t; like many species, “sandhill cranes choose a mate for life.” A four-page fine-print appendix details covered birds’ “size, diet, and range.” Meticulous collages are the star attraction of a catalog that recommends learning “as much as we can about these remarkable creatures” in order to help birds survive. Ages 6–10. (Dec.)