Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own BackyardSpring 2013 Non-Fiction
Jam packed with information, Look Up! is as comprehensive an introduction to bird watching as any child could want. Author Annette LeBlanc Cate is not a professional ornithologist (bird expert), but she does really love birds. It shows. Her lively cartoons endow nearly every bird she draws with a unique personality. Her illustration of the range of bird colors features chatty birds that express, in speech bubbles, opinions about their own and other bird's colors. Even the end pages are filled with a list of items to bring (and leave behind) when bird-watching, dos and don'ts, and thoughts on bird drawings.
The amount of notes and detail here might be overwhelming, were the tone not so consistently breezy. One of the most delightful pages describes the sounds birds make. There is the harsh "GROCK!" of a black bird or a blue ay's "QUEEDLEDEE!". You might also hear the "fwee fwee" of flapping wings or the gentle chirp of a Chickadee saying its own name.
This is a breathless explanation of the bird-watching hobby that manages to cover migration, the organization of the animal kingdom, and the geographic distribution of bird species in North America. As LeBlanc Cate notes, bird-watching encourages children to appreciate nature and their place in it. No matter where you are, she teaches, you are surrounded by and are a part of nature.