CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 39. . . .June 16, 2017
As the title suggests, this board book is a counting book, one with its focus being birds, specifically a nesting pair and their three young. In the book’s very short length, youngsters will observe the egg, nestling and fledgling stages of a bird’s development. The book’s opening double-page spread reveals a wooded area, perhaps a public park, in which:
The next spread introduces the pair of parent birds, but there is a disconnect between the text and the accompanying illustration. The former informs readers that the parents take turns keeping the eggs warm, but, in the illustration, neither adult bird is sitting on the nest. Older children, i.e. those for whom the book is not intended, will recognize that the bird swooping in from the left is likely about to settle on the nest, but the book’s preschool audience will probably not make such a prediction. This text/illustration dissonance occurs twice more in the book’s seven spreads. The numbers 7 Seven and 8 Eight are combined on a single spread where the text informs readers that “Seven – then all eight – toes take hold.” The illustration reveals the three young birds perching on a branch, but exactly what the child is to count to arrive at seven, then eight, is completely unclear. In total, there are six legs on the branch, each having four toes. In four instances, the “back” toe is behind the branch and is, therefore, “invisible” to the young counter. And the next spread is even worse as the text tells readers that it takes “Nine days to test and clean new feathers”, but the illustration reveals that the three young birds have left the nest and are helplessly fluttering (not flying) earthwards. While it may be informative to know that just nine days after an egg is hatched a bird may be largely fully feathered, Counting on Birds is a counting book, and the illustration provides nothing to count that will total nine.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.