Sweep Up the Sun

photos by Rick Lieder. 32p. Candlewick. Mar. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763669041. LC 2013957345.
PreS-Gr 1—Following on the heels of Step Gently Out (Candlewick, 2012), which combines verse and photography to bring readers into the wonders of the insect world, this new title takes readers into the sky to fly with the birds. "Rise into the air/on the strength of your wings--/go out to play in the sky,/trusting it to hold you/as you learn to fly." One motivational poem stretches easily throughout the book while the photographs work with it to capture impossible split seconds of flight and rest through a variety of conditions. ("You may find yourself/shaking off raindrops/or caught in a blizzard at night /You'll pause for a quick conversation,/meet wingtip-to-wingtip/in flight.") Each page showcases a different type of bird including goldfinches, starlings, ducks, and woodpeckers, and the back matter uses the photographs to connect readers to the birds' names and basic information. The sharply focused birds stand out against blurred backgrounds, creating a stark contrast that invites close and repeated observation.
VERDICT With a gentle text and dramatic visuals, this book has much to offer beginning birders, science classes, and storytimes for very young listeners.

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