Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyardby Annette LeBlanc Cate (Author, Illustrator)
This year I had the AWESOME privilege to be on the panel of judges for the Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Boggers’ Literary Awards (www.cybils.com). The Cybils panelist’s intention is to reward children’s and YA authors and illustrators “whose books combine the highest literary merit and kid appeal”. Besides this, it allows us, seriously addictive bloggers, to hang out together for a little while. The awards are announced (appropriately) on Valentine’s Day every year!
This year I volunteered and judged on the Non Fiction genre, my favorite of all! We had some terrific books to read through and the competition for the top spot was tough. “Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard” took the top spot! Here’s why:
“You don’t have to go anywhere fancy to watch birds!” And it seems you don’t need to know their fancy Latin names either! What about binoculars? Do you really need one?
Annette LeBlanc Cate’s “Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard” invites you into your own backyard to look up and around and spot some birds. But before you begin, she gives us a useful list of Bird Watching Do’s and Don’ts, what Not to bring with you and what you need to make this activity useful and fun.
Look up! is not a run-of-the-mill guide for bird watching. With its tongue-in-cheek cartoon illustrations, friendly banter between birds of various kinds and conversational and humorous verse, this “guide” book presents various facets of bird watching to readers.
For example, Annette uses this handy “Rainbow of Color” chart for quickly identifying birds just by knowing what color group they belong to.
Or this “Shapes” guide, which you could use for sketching out birds when you are out bird watching.
And if you ever so venture out to other places specifically for bird watching, then one would notice different birds at different places. For example, the roadrunners thrive in a desert environment and one can learn very much about what it likes to eat and how it survives by observing its natural habitat.
We loved “Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard” for so many reasons. I have to admit that I have never ever considered bird watching as an entertaining or educational activity. However, from the time I picked up this book, I was hooked! The friendly conversational style writing, the easy to read comic book style illustrations and the engaging information kept me going. Each of its busy pages presents information in form of charts or maps or comic strips. The humorous dialogues from the birds breaks up the tempo and keeps the book from becoming a monotonous “how to” guide. Annette Le Blanc Cate’s passion for drawing and bird watching comes together in a brilliantly executed book, accessible and entertaining for every age group!
At the end, this book is not just for budding ornithologists! Anyone who has an appreciation for nature and art will delight in this book.
Highly engaging and loads of fun! This book is a HIT!
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