ALL THE BIRDS IN THE WORLD
Written and Illustrated by David Opie
Peter Pauper Press 6/15/2020
32 Pages Age 4—8
. . . . . . .DEBUT
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Nonfiction
WHAT MAKES A BIRD A BIRD?
All birds have feathers, wings, and beaks. But birds come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. There are over 10,000 types of birds and they differ widely in everything from their habits to their homes. And yet, despite this diverse tapestry of textures, sounds, and sights, they are all part of the same enormous family. Even the little kiwi bird—who struggles to see at first how he fits in—finds that he too belongs to this fascinating family of feathered friends. (from inside jacket)
“All bird have feathers.
All birds have wings.
All birds have beaks.
“But birds come in many colors.
There are gray birds, brown ones,
black, gold, and white.
Some birds have red wings . . .”
Why I like All the Birds in the World
Birds of every feather flock together in author-illustrator David Opie’s debut picture book. There are 10,000 kinds of birds and if counted, that would be the number of birds in this beautifully rendered book. (Actually, there are 191, birds flying, swimming, and standing on the pages of this book. I know, as I counted, twice to be sure.) The information may seem simple, but it offers enough bird information to use as a resource. Told in free verse, kids will get information about birds in a way they can understand and remember, especially the little, oft neglected Kiwi bird from New Zealand.
Mr. Opie writes about all aspects of birds’ features: colors, shapes, sizes, nests (and other homes), eggs, feet, beaks, and vocalizations. He also includes some activities such as migrating, swimming, and flying (“the most amazing thing”). Along the way a small kiwi bird named Kiwi asks, “What about me?” What colors am I, where do I live, do I swim, can I fly, are all on Kiwi’s mind. Kiwi will entertain kids and make them laugh. For me, Kiwi is the star of the book. In the back matter there is a section just on kiwis that should make Kiwi incredibly happy. All his questions are finally answered.
The illustrations are beautiful. I am not familiar with more than maybe five birds, so I am deferring to Mr. Opie that the likenesses are correct, even though the size might be different at times (due to limited size of spreads). Some birds are brightly colored, some are more muted, and others are just black or white. Or brown, like Kiwi. Kids who like birds will be thrilled to receive All the Birds in the World. Kids who do not know a lot about our feathered companions, will love seeing the different birds in full color and up close. Kids can do what the author did and keep track of the birds they see using All the Birds in the World to help identify it. Identification of birds seen in the book is in the backmatter.
I love looking at the art more than the prose, though that is also interesting. The art is simply fantastic. The Author’s Note and the identification of the birds by page number makes me wonder how long it took to draw and paint all those birds, plus backgrounds. Considering the scope of included birds, All the Birds in the World is an amazing collection that should be cherished and kept – buy a copy and keep it. Libraries are great institutions, but sometimes you just need to own a book. For young bird lovers, this is one of those books.
There is an “Author’s Note” in which Mr. Opie explains his love of birds, when it started, and how he kept (keeps) a book notating every bird he has seen. In his childhood home, the surrounding area was home to approximately 190 species of bird, so he had many to find. Mr. Opie also mentions his favorite fact about birds.
The second section is titled, “More about Kiwis.” Here, Kiwi finally gets his questions answered. the kiwi bird, found only in New Zealand, is part of a group of flightless birds called “raities.” Kiwis have wings which are tiny and hidden. I thought it interesting that kiwis do not build nests, but instead build burrows in the ground.
Available at Amazon: All the Birds in the World
ALL THE BIRDS IN THE WORLD. Copyright © 2020 by David Opie. Published by Peter Pauper Press, Inc., White Plains, NY.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[428 word count-review only]
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NEXT UP: MG – Misadventures of a Magician’s Son by Laurie Smollet Knutscera