Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

Look Up!

Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

by Annette LeBlanc Cate


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Look Up!
Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

by Annette LeBlanc Cate
Review posted January 13, 2014.
Candlewick Press, 2013. 54 pages.
Starred Review
2013 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #3 Children's Nonfiction

This wonderful book explains to kids how to get started bird-watching. The author is an artist who also encourages kids to sketch the birds they see. Her own illustrations in this book are not intimidating, and she tells the reader that you will get better with practice, and points out what things to notice.

She tells you how to get started and why to get started. Also where to get started (anywhere!). Here’s where she talks about sketching birds:

Try to sketch while keeping your eyes on the bird as much as you can. This takes practice, but it’s so worth doing. Don’t worry about how “good” your picture is – the act of drawing is valuable no matter what the result looks like, because when we draw, we look extra, extra hard, and that helps us focus our attention. There’s so much to pay attention to – shape, color, sound, and more! So let’s take each aspect one at a time.

Then the book looks in more detail at these aspects of birds, to help you learn to identify them. She wraps up by explaining how to use field guides, bird habitats, and classification.

There’s so much crammed into this book! It makes bird-watching seem accessible and even fun! As if the main text weren’t enough, most pages have speech bubbles coming from the birds, who give wisecracks that make information about them even more memorable.

This book is clearly a labor of love. She says right at the start that she’s not an expert bird-watcher. “I just really love birds.”