Friday, May 27, 2011

Poetry Friday - A review of The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: A Birder’s Journal

Today's book is very special indeed because it not only contains poems, but it also contains wonderful illustrations, field notes about birds, and journal entries. The author beautifully combines many different elements to give readers a unique bookish experience.

Sallie Wolf
Poetry and Nonfiction
For ages 6 to 9
Charlesbridge, 2010, 978-1-58089-318-3
   When Sallie Wolf was in the seventh grade, her teacher taught the children in her class how to identify birds, study their behavior, and write down their observations. Ever since then Sallie has been bird watching, and in this book she invites us to share her interest in birds by taking a journey through the seasons, telling us about some of the birds that she sees.
   She begins with spring, giving us lists of some of the birds that she sees at this time of year. There is a painting of a crocus and a delightful poem about early crocuses and brown creepers who “circle up tree trunks.” We get to meet a robin who “makes a laughing sound” as it goes about making a nest. There are also notes about the birds she sees, as well as sketches and little watercolor paintings of birds, flowers, and a tree.
   In the summer there are seagulls who “hang out at the mall” and spend their time “fighting over French fries / and scraps of burgers.” Robins take a bath, cleaning their feathers vigorously until they are “Freshly groomed and tidy.”
   In this very personal and beautifully presented book, we take a journey through the year reading notes about birds, lists of birds, journal entries, and poems. There are delightful illustrations throughout, some of which are simple ink sketches, and others that are delicate watercolor paintings.
   At the beginning of the book, the author explains how she came to be interested in birds, and at the back of the book she tells us about her journaling journey, which she began when she was a child.

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