Friday, 2 August 2019

The Big Book of Birds, by Yuval Zommer: reviewed by Sue Purkiss

Our nearly-three year old grandson is very keen on birds, much to the delight of his bird-watching grandfather. They test each other on birdsongs, and correct each other on identification - "Oh no, Dad-dad. That's not a seagull - it's a pigeon."

And so when I saw this book flagged up on Twitter or somewhere, I immediately ordered it. It's a really beautiful book which contains a huge amount of information. When it first arrived a couple of months ago I thought it was a little bit old for Thomas, but I think by the time of his third birthday in a few weeks, he'll be able to get a good deal out of it - as will his grandfather.

It's satisfyingly large, with generous spreads going across a double page which contain masses of pictures of different birds and masses of interesting bits of information: did you know that a swan has up to 25000 feathers, whereas a humming bird has a mere 1000? Or (I know this on's going to be agreat favourite) that when a flamingo gets too hot, it wees on its own legs to cool itself down? Did you know that an albatross can drink sea water, getting rid of the salt through a small hole above its eye? There, you see - not only will your children/grandchildren enjoy it, but you'll never be short of interesting things to talk about at parties. (If you find yourself standing alone after a while, don't worry about it - just go out into the garden and listen out for birdsong. Much more fun.)

About half of the spreads - fifteen - are about individual species from all over the world. The others deal with topics such as migration, feathers, bird calls, birds in the city, and how to encourage birds into your garden. The illustrations - also by Yuval Zommer - are bright, humorous and accurate, and there's a challenge - a hidden egg on each page - to encourage the young reader to keep turning the page. It's the kind of book that has so much to look at that the reader will want to come back to it again and again. Lovely.



Ann Turnbull said...

Oh, this looks and sounds lovely - wish I had someone to buy it for!

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