Woodpecker Wham!

Woodpecker Wham! illus. by Steve Jenkins. 40p. further reading. websites. Holt. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805088427.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—A northern flicker, a yellow-bellied sapsucker, and other woodpeckers of the eastern deciduous forests "chip," "chop," and "wham" their way through the seasons through crisp verses and paper collages in this informational picture book. There are quiet moments as well: woodpeckers "pluck and feed" at the cherry tree while cherries dangle against an azure sky. Jenkins's illustrations are top-notch, beautifully depicting the different subspecies of woodpeckers, such as the flicker's subtle grays and golds, which contrast with its neck rings, and spotted chest. With metronomic precision, Sayre's verses describe the woodpecker's activity: "Hawk's a-hunting./Stop. Drop. Hide./Quiet/on the other side," and along with the illustrations, mostly spreads, make for engaging read-alouds. The end pages, supported by information from Cornell's Laboratory of Ornithology and other biologists, offer more information that will be key for students engaged in Common Core activities, paired with small images, which name the featured woodpeckers. Readers learn how these birds forage, build shelter and nests, avoid predators, and instruct their young, among other topics.
VERDICT Lovely and exciting, this title is a great hook for young researchers, as well as fledgling ornithologists.

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