For the Birds
by Peggy Thomas

Price at time of review: $16.95
40 pp.
Boyds Mills Press
Honesdale, PA
ISBN: 9781590787649

Grade Level: 3-5

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

Children who may feel that their fascination with the natural world puts them out of the mainstream will love this NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Book. It's not the average biography. Young Roger Tory Peterson scrapes through a variety of youthful adventures. "Sit–at–your–desk school" isn't his thing. But outside, he watched, drew, and every "chirp, whistle and trill." His father despaired: "Why couldn't his son learn something useful?"

Large, realistic drawings make this book suitable for sharing with a group—preferably, a bit at a time because the text is rich in detail. The book is not only capable of encouraging students to explore outside, but integrates the practices and attitudes of science into a text that also includes details about a variety of birds. Full page drawings of hawks and owls might be used for inquiring observation. The end illustration "Topography of a Birder" is only partially drawn in jest; long legs and a tuft of blond hair aren't prerequisites for ornithology, but it's easy to imagine students like that packing binoculars and a peanut butter sandwich to follow Peterson into the field. "The Peterson Effect" emphasizes the effects that the birder's work had on society. A bibliography and suggestions for action complete the book.

Review posted on 1/20/2012

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