Friday, January 31, 2014

Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Back Yard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

The American Library Association announced its children's book awards this week, including the highly-entertaining Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Back Yard by Annette LeBlanc Cate. This illustrated introduction to bird watching was named an honor book in the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Awards. Knowing I enjoy bird watching, Heather Booth handed me a copy of the book. It was instant love. After work I brought the book home and started reading right away.

Of course, I am a bit older than the target audience, but I must propose that Look Up! would be a great beginning bird book for any age reader. Anyone over nine years old can benefit from a look at this book. The author/illustrator introduces almost every important topic of interest to birders, including how to distinguish field marks, how to read range maps, how to observe behaviors, ethical bird watching, and scientific classification. She even advocates for scavengers, birds that some people dislike. She accomplishes this in 52 illustrated pages.

Like naturalist/journalist Pete Dunne, Cate urges birdwatchers to learn to sketch birds in the wild. The discipline makes the bird watcher note the field marks. Maybe I should take this advice.

Now that Look Up! has been honored by the ALA, look for it in more libraries.

Cate, Annette LeBlanc. Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Back Yard. Candlewick Press, 2013. ISBN 9780763645618.

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