Birds

Birds

3.7 4
by Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek
     
 

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Birds come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Birds are magic. Birds are everywhere. If you listen very carefully you will hear them, no matter where you live. And if you look very closely you will see them, no matter where you are. And if you can't go outside right this minute, you can always read this book!

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Overview

Birds come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Birds are magic. Birds are everywhere. If you listen very carefully you will hear them, no matter where you live. And if you look very closely you will see them, no matter where you are. And if you can't go outside right this minute, you can always read this book!

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"The words and pictures create a book that will enchant preschool audiences again and again."
Horn Book
"Words and pictures perform a perfectly choreographed dance here."
Little girls can't fly, but they do share one great gift with birds: They can sing. This sweet picture book will send young readers soaring into Dreamland. An enchanting story; charming illustrations.
Publishers Weekly

Husband-and-wife team Henkes and Dronzek (Oh!) record random thoughts about birds, enlivened by vignettes of thickly outlined bird shapes feathered with primary-school paintbox colors. Observations as spare as haiku-"Sometimes, in winter, a bird in a tree looks like one red leaf left over"-are pictured wistfully; here, a cardinal perches, leaf-like, on a high branch of a leafless tree. The appeal throughout is Henkes's ability to channel the way young children think ("If birds made marks with their tail feathers when they flew, think what the sky would look like") and see ("If there are lots of birds in one tree and they all fly away at the same time, it looks like the tree yelled, 'SURPRISE!' "). Although the artwork most often follows the text's lead, richer moments come when Dronzek steps forward and does the imagining. "If clouds were birds, the sky would look like this," Henkes writes; with a dry, loosely wielded brush, Dronzek paints bird-shaped silhouettes of clouds tinted the same color as the setting sun they soar over. A kind of book of meditations for the very young, its reflective tone and peaceful illustrations make this an excellent bedtime choice. Ages 2-5. (Mar.)

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Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Henkes begins this work with a familiar observation: "In the morning I hear birds singing through the open window." The birds that can be found amid the apple blossoms are of many colors and sizes. Birds are perched on the wire, and then they are gone. Our narrator imagines the patterns the birds could make with their tails when flying in the sky or if they were clouds. She also ponders where the birds go in a storm when they can't reach their nests. She likes to pretend she is a bird, even though she cannot fly. She can sing, and she likes to sing along with a bird. The brief, simple text printed in large type is really just a skeleton for Dronzek's impressionistic acrylic paintings of the different birds. They are imaginatively displayed: three telephone wires hold seven brown birds repeated on two pages; the next double page shows an empty line. Another double page is filled with multicolored arabesques, the patterns made as the birds fly. Still another shows the multitude of black birds exploding from a tree, as the text reveals that "it looks like the tree yelled, ‘surprise!'" in large black letters. This book is visually simple but also informative and inspiring. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-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

Kirkus Reviews
A precocious girl's reverie begins when the birds' morning songs drift through her window. Initially, she reflects on their vastly varied physical attributes; her thoughts then turn to the birds' relationship with their physical environment, both collectively and individually. Powerful images reflect their beauty. "Sometimes in winter, a bird in a tree looks like one red leaf left over." While the girl wishes to fly like birds she enjoys, she is encouraged by the commonality that unites them: "I can sing!" Dronzek's wavy black lines accentuate the birds' natural radiance; acrylic smudges exude a hazy glow. Dark bursts of color explode against the sky in a striking double-page spread as a flock takes flight en masse; the word "surprise" above outstretched branches reflects the thought with bold uneven letters. Spare language enhances the story's quiet essence; the girl's musings change abruptly, with a child's mercurial speed, resulting in a grounded offering that begins to fly but doesn't fully soar. (Picture book. 3-6)
New York Times Book Review
“Birds trust[s] the intelligence and imagination of young children, and that’s what makes this a perfect book.”
Horn Book (starred review)
“Words and pictures perform a perfectly choreographed dance here.”
Booklist (starred review)
“The words and pictures create a book that will enchant preschool audiences again and again.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061363047
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/17/2009
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
216,206
Product dimensions:
11.56(w) x 9.66(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD410L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes has been praised both as a writer and as an illustrator. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten’s First Full Moon; Caldecott Honors for Owen and Waiting; two Newbery Honors—one for Olive’s Ocean and one for The Year of Billy Miller—and Geisel Honors for Penny and Her Marble and for Waiting. His other books include Old Bear, A Good Day, Chrysanthemum, and the beloved Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Kevin Henkes lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

www.kevinhenkes.com

Laura Dronzek is a painter whose work has been exhibited nationally. Her picture books include Moonlight, by Helen V. Griffith; the acclaimed Birds, by Kevin Henkes; and White Is for Blueberry, by George Shannon. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Madison, Wisconsin
Date of Birth:
November 27, 1960
Place of Birth:
Racine, Wisconsin
Education:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Website:
http://www.kevinhenkes.com

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