Synopses & Reviews
Turkey vultures soar on the balmy air, looking for their next stinky feast. These birds dont hunt—they like their food to be already dead, and their eating habits serve a very important ecological role. Vultures are part of natures clean-up crew.
In her signature poetic, energetic style, acclaimed nature writer April Pulley Sayre introduces young readers to the world of the turkey vulture. The gorgeous illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winning artist Steve Jenkins capture these birds in all their surprising majesty. Vulture View is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
"Sayre (Hush, Little Puppy) and Jenkins (Living Color) buoyantly approach a subject that usually receives a straight and narrow treatment. Instead of a parade of facts, the author deftly employs patterned verse to explore the standout attributes of the turkey vulture (it catches warm air currents to soar, eats carrion, etc.). 'Vultures smell the air./ They sniff, search, seek/ for foods that... Reek!/ Those fragrant flowers?/ No, no./ That spicy smoke?/ No, no./ That stinky dead deer?/ Yes, yes!' Jenkins brings his exquisite brand of paper collage to this hero of the food chain; here the vulture's striated black and gray wings (and sometimes just their silhouettes) contrast against a brilliant cerulean sky that dominates several spreads. The artist's exacting hand can be seen in the ultra-fine shading on the birds' magenta heads or the carcasses (never gory in presentation) that signal dinner for the soaring scavengers. Endnotes delve into more detail, explaining such questions as why the birds can safely eat rotten meat (their bodies can sterilize decomposing food). Celebrating the majesty of an underappreciated creature, this volume should attract a wide audience both for its fascinating content and sprightly execution. Ages 5-8." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Jenkins's dynamic, brightly colored collages show the birds from different viewpoints and are often quite dramatic, especially the black silhouettes of the animals set against a red sky at sunset. The use of questions in the poetic text will also engage children. . . . A welcome resource." —School Library Journal
"Sayre's text is positively gleeful in its exposure of the previously unacceptable subject matter to a child audience, depicting vultures not as cartoon villains but as a necessary part of nature. Jenkins's textured collages reveal unapologetically ugly vultures against a breathtakingly clean blue sky, almost chortling as they juxtapose lovely blossoms with the decomposing deer carcass." —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
APRIL PULLEY SAYRE
is the award-winning author of more than fifty natural history books for young readers. She and her husband live in South Bend, Indiana.
STEVE JENKINS has illustrated many books, including the Caldecott Honor winner What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? He lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page, and their three children.