Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Backyard birds throng a hanging feeder in this counting book, arriving in pairs until they number 20. The cat has been lying in wait, but just as he finally pounces, the furry "gray streak" of a squirrel swoops in and the birds-chickadees, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, sparrows, cardinals, finches and more-take wing. Stiffly rhyming couplets narrate the slight story ("The number of birds/ grows larger so fast,/ The cat still watches/ the birds that fly past"), while prose captions briefly describe the feeding and social behaviors of each avian arrival. An appendix tells how to identify the male and female of each species. Mazzola's (illustrator of The Crayon Counting Book) bright digital paintings combine backgrounds of airbrush-like softness with foregrounds of almost photographic detail, lending the illustrations depth and luminosity. The attractively designed pages frame the text and illustrations with twig borders. By compelling readers to find what's new in each picture, the book trains the eye to differentiate among species. It's too bad the text is not as airborne as the art. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Frank Mazzola proves counting is not just for the birds, but it can be a fascinating way to learn about all different kinds of birds. Silhouettes indicate the relative size of different species, and small print under each little poem provides facts about what the birds eat and how they live. Perfect for ages 5 to 7 as a read-aloud and counting book, or for older kids to read on their own.
Children's Literature - Dr. Beverly Kobrin
The male and female of ten species populate the pages of this book. Mr. Mazzola's rhymes describe the birds attracted to tree-hung feeders; his prose provides a few facts about their food and behavior.
This counting book has many interesting aspects: colorful, breathtaking pictures of unusual fish, interesting details about various fish species, counting with even numbers, and the fun of seeking cleverly hidden numbers throughout the book. A great gift possibility. 2001, Charlesbridge Publishing, $6.95. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: C. Henebry SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2One by one, birds arrive at a feeder until a total of 20 are clustered at the spot. A squirrel scatters the flock, thwarting a patient cat who lurks in the background. This versatile book invites more than one reading to absorb the variety of concepts presented. It is, first of all, a counting book with a flowing, rhyming story, but it also gives information about birds in both text and illustration. Each double-spread includes basic facts about physical characteristics and behaviors, specific foods birds prefer, and types of feeders to use. The attractive format successfully separates concepts while maintaining continuity in presentation. Illustrations are all computer-generated, digital paintings that are amazingly realistic, clear, and sharp. Birds are easily identifiable with bright colors that remain true to nature and are attractively framed by a twig design. One disconcerting note is that all of the background scenes are of summer while many of the birds are those most often associated with feeders in winter. While some people do leave feeders out year round, experts suggest that birds are better off depending on their natural environments when food is readily available. While all the information found here can be located elsewhere, and counting books abound, this combination of counting, rhyming, story, facts, and the visual appeal of the unique presentation succeeds at all levels.Diane Nunn, Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ
An effective beginning backyard-bird book is muddied with the addition of poetry and counting to its equation.
Beginning with a lone feeder, pairs of birds flock to feast, creating the numbers 020. Each numbered pair is coupled with a short, rhymed verse that depicts actions and habits of birds such as cardinals, downy woodpeckers, sparrows, and tufted titmice. The body of the text is verse, followed by brief factoids about the bird. This is the war of the formats: The same information presented in poetic form is often needlessly restated in the factual paragraph. A crafty cat stalks the feeder, waiting to pounce, à la Lois Ehlert's Feathers for Lunch (1990). High- resolution digital illustrations painted onscreen using a personal computer are detailed with the precision of a photograph, appropriate for identification but lacking a heartbeat.