In-between bouts of “Super Smash Brothers” and watching pirated episodes of Fraggle Rock, I occasionally set foot outside my apartment to experience the beauty of nature. Granted, the “nature” outside my apartment typically consists of the singular tree next to the elevator and a fat, mustachioed gentleman sitting on the grass eating Cheetos, but still, it’s healthy to experience the magnificence of God’s creation.
The Illustrated Alphabet of Birds by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock immerses readers in the natural world. It’s a fascinating nature lesson for kids, or adults, of any age (I learned the names of a few birds I wasn’t familiar with.)
This work is based on a book with the same title already in the public domain. The author used this books as a jumping-off point and has composed most of the poems herself, adding the illustrations. So it’s a little like my twenty six-volume set of Tom Sawyer/Fifty Shades of Gray fan fiction. Only The Illustrated Alphabet of Birds is actually good. And allowed in Oklahoma.
Each of the twenty-six birds is introduced with a letter and described in a short rhyme. The rhymes teach readers a little about the birds involved, like the fact that the Ibis “wanders in bogs and lives upon lizards and fishes and frogs.” It’s a simple story structure, but a great way to make learning fun. The sing-song-y tone will hold a kids attention like a starving Ethiopian gripping a carrot stick.
But the most impressive thing about this book is the art. By applying artistic effects to photographs, the author creates stunning pictures that look like they were drawn with colored pencils or painted. The end result is collection of beautiful pieces of art that truly look like the birds they represent.
So the next time you’re jonesin’ for some nature, pick up The Illustrated Alphabet of Birds. The book is a treat for your kids’ eyes, as well as their ears, and may encourage them to do some bird research themselves. Just don’t let them near an ostrich farm on espresso night. One of those little trips cost me an appendix.
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