From the Publisher
"[A] festive collection of 21 whimsical rhymes and elegant watercolors celebrating familiar and exotic feathery flyers.—Parenting
"A fine encore to Florian's Beast Feast....A sturdy foundation from which to explore the playfulness of language."—Kirkus Reviews
"For anyone who admires birds or gentle, light-hearted verse."—San Diego Parent
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Twenty-one very brief and lively poems are paired with large, often amusing watercolors to portray a nice variety of birds, including the egret, whooping crane, roadrunner, quetzal and the rhinoceros hornbill. Although humorous, the rhymes manage to convey scientific facts about the birds like the rhinoceros hornbill: "Southeast Asian bird is born, / With large and orange curving horn, / This massive growth is called a casque, / For Halloween it needs no mask."
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6Florian's poems about birds accompany his fanciful watercolor paintings of some ordinary and extraordinary feathered creatures. There are 21 in all, among them a stork, a crow, and a royal spoonbill. The poems are mostly humorous and whimsical, but some, like "The Nightjar," are mysterious and powerful. The illustrations are similar in style to those in Beast Feast (Harcourt, 1994), but this title does not achieve the genuine playfulness found in that book. Many of the poems seem forced and are not engaging. Although the painter's skill is very evident, the visual humor is also often forced. The illustration for "The Hummingbird," for instance, depicts the tiny, exquisite bird with a propeller attached to its back and skis for feet. The picture of the nightjar, on the other hand, is brilliant. Overall, On the Wing is not as good as At the Zoo (Greenwillow, 1992) or as funny as Beast Feast.Jean Pollock, King Country Library System, Seattle, WA
[A] festive collection of 21 whimsical rhymes and elegant watercolors celebrating familiar and exotic feathery flyers.
This collection of bird poems and paintings is a fine encore to Florian's Beast Feast (1994). As in that book, biology and whimsy combine in verse and pictures. In "The Hawk""I stare/I glare/I gaze/I gawk/With keen/mean eyes/I am the hawk./All day I pray/For prey to view./Be thankful if/I don't/See/YOU!"the words are accompanied by a picture of a lurking bird on a branch, a pair of binoculars hanging around its neck. Florian's watercolors match the tone of the verse, bright and funny portraits of individual birds, combining accurate representations with visual puns (the roadrunner has wheels, the nightjar is shown flapping its wings inside a jar).
Nonfiction and humor don't always fit comfortably together, but in this book they become a delightful whole, a sturdy foundation from which to explore the playfulness of language.