Sunday, May 3, 2015

Book Review: Aviary Wonders Inc.

Aviary Wonders Inc. may seem comical; however, it is a serious warning of our world may be coming to. Subtitled, Spring Catalog and Instructional Manual: Renewing the World's Bird Supply since 2031. It even gives a date of when we might have issues! The author, Kate Samworth, creates a fictitious catalog for buying customized bits.

The author shares dangers birds face, including insecticides, habitat loss, exotic pet trade, and cats! Tongue in cheek, the book reads, "I know we can't replace the birds that have been lost.  But we can provide you with the opportunity to create an exquisite alternative: your very own bird, a work of art you'll treasure for a lifetime."

The book is divided into various bird parts, such as feathers, bodies, beaks, tails, legs and feet, flight patterns, wings, and collars and crests. There are assembly instructions at the end, as well as an FAQ and an order form. Each section shows examples of different bird body parts, such as the following. 
Bodies: swimmers, perchers, waders, birds of prey
Beaks: carnivores, insectivores, herbivores, piscivores
Legs and Feet: flightless, birds or prey, perches, swimmers and waders

While much of Aviary Wonders Inc. is fictitious and the artwork is imaginative rather than realistic, I found the tongue in cheek approach of dealing with a serious matter interesting. I also found it informative in showing the many bird body parts and habits. The artwork is colorful and detailed, but not like many of the birds we typically see, which is the point. If there continue to be unchecked dangers, the birds as we know them may not be as accessible to view in the future. 

Personally, I would use this book with upper elementary aged students. Younger children still need hope in the natural world without worrying about the doom and gloom just yet. However, it is more developmentally appropriate for 3rd grade on up, depending on the children. The book can help give a wake up check of dangers for birds and the reality we may face. 

Here are a few resources:
The author's website and preliminary sketches
Flying Wild Training

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