Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: David Elliot
Illustrator: Becca Stadtlander
Publisher: Candlewick Press
“The Japanese Crane: What music do they hear that makes them flutter so? It’s early spring; the cranes are dancing, dancing in the snow,” David Elliot writes in his children’s book, On the Wing.
This thirty-two-page hardbound targets three-to-seven-year-olds or preschoolers to second graders. Due to several three-syllable words, it would best be read to beginner readers. Complicated wording such conflagration, vocalist, untethered, measureless, lovesick, and suburban may be too confusing for preschoolers to understand.
Written in rhyming format from a few words to several stanzas, the book depicts sixteen different birds regarding their characteristics, personalities, or habits in serious, silly, and showy tones. With full-color, full-page illustrations, both child and adult will be fascinated looking at the scenery. Some birds covered are the flamingo, crow, owl, albatross, condor, puffin, bowerbird, and an eagle.
The beautifully designed drawings of the different birds are the highlight of the book as the reader can study the fowl, note its features, and look for it in day-to-day living depending on their location. The rhymes have some educational value; other times they may be simplistic such as stating “who spilled the paint?” for the macaw.
I liked the painted artwork the most as the poems may be too hard to read and decipher for the age group the book is targeting. While there is a learning aspect to the rhymes regarding birds, the artist’s debut illustrations are what I was drawn to most.
Award-winning author, Elliot has written several children’s books including poetry. He lives in New Hampshire. This is the first published book by illustrator Stadtlander, who lives in Rhode Island.
In this type of book, the rhymes are adequate but I tended to want to skip over them and look at the birds’ designs. I wish a book like this had more educational information for young ones to learn about the different species.
If you want to introduce a young one to several types of birds through engaging pictures, this is a good start. The poems are secondary and may be informative.
Thanks to Bookpleasures and Candlewick for offering this book to review for my honest opinion.