Synopses & Reviews
Since 2031, Aviary Wonders Inc. has offered bird lovers a unique opportunity: Assemble your own bird from stunningly beautiful and carefully hand-crafted parts. The birds can even be taught to fly and to sing! This slyly satirical crafter's delight is offered as the perfect antidote to extinction of birds in the wild.
Brilliantly illustrated with oil paintings and filled with laugh-aloud asides as well as sobering facts about extinct species, this mock catalog is a clever send-up of contemporary sales spin and a thought-provoking look into an all-too-possible future.
"Unsettling and unforgettable, this faux-catalog purports to replace extinct bird species with build-a-bird automatons. Sub-subtitled 'Renewing the World's Bird Supply Since 2031,' the compendium opens with earnest words from its founder, who 'discovered a passion for bird watching while working for my family's logging company': 'We can't replace the birds that have been lost. But we can provide you with the opportunity to create an exquisite alternative.' Samworth, making her debut, marries conventional sales language to florid multimedia illustrations of disembodied bird parts 'handcrafted and made to order by world-class artisans.' Bird bodies (e.g., moa, swan, condor), sans beaks, wings, or feet, are presented as basic options. Shoppers choose from 'hardwood or porcelain' strap-on beaks, screw-on legs, durable silk wings, and optional 'embellishments' like the gaudy 'Rockette' crest or the ocean-blue 'Rachel Carson' wattles 'made from recycled rubber.' A closing section on assembly, with instructions for teaching the robotic birds to fly and sing, only deepens the uncanny sense of loss. This cautionary guidebook mimes ads that fetishize wildlife; Samworth's bracing irony will stimulate discussion among conservationists. Ages 9 12. Agent: Nancy Gallt, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
andquot;This futuristic mail-order catalog offers hand-crafted parts for ambitious do-it-yourselfers who want to assemble a customized bird. . . The ecological subtext will resonate with some environmentally concerned children and adults who hope such a catalog will not become a necessary reality.andquot;
andmdash;School Library Journal
andquot;For children and their bird-watching parents, who will appreciate the clever premise and the message of admiration.andquot;
andmdash;Kirkus, starred review
andquot;This is an original, somewhat disturbing, and wholeheartedly bizarre (but in a good way!) picture book for older children. . . An impressive picture book debut.andquot;
andmdash;Booklist, starred review
andquot;Unsettling and unforgettable.andquot;
andmdash;Publishers Weekly, starred review
andquot;This is as cleverly executed as it is edifying...The gilding-the-lily exaggeration of birdsandrsquo; natural beauty is satire at its child-appropriate best, and the subtle digs at our perennial efforts to domesticate animals for our pleasure wonandrsquo;t be lost on young readers.andquot;
andldquo;Aviary Wonders Inc. is a picture book that widens the definition of the genre. While truly a picture book, it was created for readers aged 10 and up with well-developed sensibilities and senses of humor. Confronting environmental issues in a clever and whimsical way, it is original, highly unexpected, beautiful, and thought-provoking.and#160;Aviary Wonders Inc. is by far one of the most creative books we have ever encountered.andrdquo;
andmdash;Kirkus Prize judgesandrsquo; statement
What can you do when all the birds are gone? Build your own! This comic environmental fable offers a businessman's dollars-and-sense solution to the drastic effects of deforestation.
About the Author
Kate Samworth studied (and taught) painting at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art and printmaking at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art, where she took an illustration course withandnbsp;David Wiesner. She lives on a farm in Stanardsville,Virginia, teaches and paints at a studio in Charlottesville, and travels widely.She is an ardent spokesperson for environmental protection and preservation.