cover image The Great Bird Detective

The Great Bird Detective

Chronicle Books, David Elcome. Chronicle Books, $11.95 (98pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0833-0

No, this is not the name of some strange new series hero, but a bird identification book cleverly formatted in a six-ring looseleaf binder sized like a Filofax. Even the four tabbed dividers ape that wildly popular appointment book; kids will feel particularly grown-up as they consult these detail-laden pages. The first section, ``Detective's Database,'' provides the bulk of the information, which is often very scientific. Pages-some of which fold out-are devoted to such diverse topics as ``Feet and Legs'' and ``Courtship.'' Bird care is outlined in the second section (``On the Case'') while the third (``Snoop's Dossier'') contains blank record sheets for noting bird-watching activities. Five pages of stickers fill the end. The mix of serious information with game-like sections is reflected in the illustrations: the bird portraits, by Cox, are fairly realistic, while Gerrell's detective doings are pretty silly. Budding birders can have fun winging their way through this unusual presentation. Ages 6-12. (May)