Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Cuckoo's Haiku and Other Birding Poems

This is a seriously gorgeous book. Downright stunning, actually. A poetry volume cleverly disguised as a field guide that offers beautifully written haiku on twenty-four birds. As if the prose weren't enough, the pages are also filled with most wondrous watercolors by Stan Fellows.

The selections are arranged by season, beginning with the Eastern Bluebird of Spring and closing with the Purple Finch of Winter. Brilliant colors appear in the plumage of Golden Finches, Cardinals and Blue Jays. Even the American Robin, which is so common in our own backyard, is spectacular here with her puffed orange breast and white speckled throat. She sings "cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up!" Every detail of the book is carefully arranged, right down to the perfectly chosen fonts.

Author Michael J. Rosen says "Now I live on a 100-acre farm in the foothills of the Appalachians. Writing about wildlife is really writing about my own life." He offers us a delightful peek at what he is privy to on a daily basis. Here there are feeders heavy with Purple Finches, Morning Doves building their nests and Belted Kingfishers catching fresh fish for dinner. Pileated Woodpeckers drum in the forest while the sky turns black with by the wings of a thousand Starlings.

It's lovely to find a book such as this - a children's book that is just as much a joy for adults as well. Readers of any age will take so much pleasure in this volume. If readers are not already fascinated by birds, this is an amazing introduction to the how amazing bird watching can be. Be prepared to be hooked, as this is one book far too beautiful to be relegated to the bookshelf.

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