Since we are all about the birds here at TMG this week, I thought that I should share a book that has equal bird love to give. And, it just so happens that a book I recently brought home from the library at school, King of the Birds by Helen Ward, fits the bill (no pun intended!) just perfectly.
A clever and colorful retelling of a traditional tale, King of the Birds chronicles the events that take place when the birds of the world decide that they should declare a king of their kind. The obvious questions that this task raises (Should it be the bird with the biggest beak? The most colorful feathers?) creates the perfect opportunity to examine some of the more wonderful features of birds, both unusual and ordinary. In the end, it is intelligence that wins out over beauty, strength and speed, and a humble wren is proclaimed the bird of all birds.
As much as it is always nice to see the underdog rise to the top, the true pleasure in this book is in the beautiful illustrations of the varied birds and their features. The end of the tale features coded maps of the book's pages, allowing the reader to look back through the book to find the names of birds represented there, as well as bits of information about the birds and some of their more noteworthy attributes.
This book seems to be perhaps a bit tricky to find a copy of; bookstores and online may not actually be your best bet. Indeed, I would reccommend a trip to your local library in search of this one, especially considering that it would be such a great companion to bird count preparation this week. You could talk with your kiddos about which birds you might expect to count in your yard, or which ones might appear in yards in other parts of the world. Either way- enjoy!