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.
"Husband-and-wife team Henkes and Dronzek (Oh!) record random thoughts about birds, enlivened by vignettes of thickly outlined bird shapes feathered with primary-school paintbox colors. Observations as spare as haiku 'Sometimes, in winter, a bird in a tree looks like one red leaf left over' are pictured wistfully; here, a cardinal perches, leaf-like, on a high branch of a leafless tree. The appeal throughout is Henkes's ability to channel the way young children think ('If birds made marks with their tail feathers when they flew, think what the sky would look like') and see ('If there are lots of birds in one tree and they all fly away at the same time, it looks like the tree yelled, 'SURPRISE!' '). Although the artwork most often follows the text's lead, richer moments come when Dronzek steps forward and does the imagining. 'If clouds were birds, the sky would look like this,' Henkes writes; with a dry, loosely wielded brush, Dronzek paints bird-shaped silhouettes of clouds tinted the same color as the setting sun they soar over. A kind of book of meditations for the very young, its reflective tone and peaceful illustrations make this an excellent bedtime choice. Ages 2 5." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“The child voice in this charming story is just right and will resonate with the very youngest children.” School Library Journal (starred review)
“Words and pictures perform a perfectly choreographed dance here.” Horn Book (starred review)
“Birds trust[s] the intelligence and imagination of young children, and thats what makes this a perfect book.” New York Times Book Review
“The words and pictures create a book that will enchant preschool audiences again and again.” Booklist (starred review)
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
"The pleasing text is well constructed, with rhythm and rhyme altered in different types of stanzas and distinctive birdsongs included in the verse. . . . A beautifully crafted, informative picture book."
and#8212;Booklist, starred review
"This charming and unusual nature story contributes something new to the overstuffed field of bird-related picture books. . . . As welcome as the robin in springtime."
and#8212;Kirkus, starred review
"The restraint of the artwork dovetails nicely with the story's themes: caretaking. . . and observation. . . A fine book about watching living things in the wild, and it also serves as a beginning birders' guide, identifying the features and cries of common backyard birds."
"[A] lovely introduction to common neighborhood birds."
and#8212;School Library Journal
"With its many birdcalls that invite imitation, the text is enjoyable in its own right, as are the softly texture, earth-toned setting in which children and birds enjoy each other's company."
Birds come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Birds are magic. Birds are everywhere. If you listen very carefully you will hear them, no matter where you live. And if you look very closely you will see them, no matter where you are. And if you can't go outside right this minute, you can always read this book!
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.
In this nonfiction picture book for young readers,and#160;we learn just why the mother nesting bird stays quiet and still while sitting onand#160;her eggs. Shh. . . .
Woodpecker calls from a tree, "cuk-cuk-cuk." Starling sings, "whistle-ee-wee." But have you heard the nesting bird?
In this book, we hear all the different bird calls in counterpoint to the pervasive quiet of a mama bird waiting for her eggs to hatch. Fun and informative back matter takes the shape of an interview so that readers learn more right from the bird's bill. Ken Pak's lively illustrations, paired with Rita Gray's words, render a visual and sonorous picture book to be enjoyed by young naturalists.
About the Author
Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon
in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times
bestsellers Lilly's Big Day
and Wemberly Worried
, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen
, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song
(2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll
and Penny and Her Marble
(a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review
piece about A Good Day
, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller
, and the other for Olive's Ocean
. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia
, Bird Lake Moon
, The Birthday Room
, and Sun & Spoon
. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.
Laura Dronzek is a painter whose work has been exhibited nationally. Her picture books include Moonlight, by Helen V. Griffith; the acclaimed Birds, by Kevin Henkes; and White Is for Blueberry, by George Shannon. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.