Superlative Birds

illus. by Robert Meganck. 56p. glossary. notes. Peachtree. Mar. 2019. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781561459513.
Gr 3–7—This combination poetry/science book successfully blends language arts and science into an informative and fun collection of poems about the fastest, smallest, biggest, and most interesting birds. Each page includes a short poem about one of the most notable birds in the world, commenting on what makes them miraculous and a standout, followed by a few paragraphs of additional background information. Each poem is structurally catered to the particular bird it highlights, such as a poem in the shape of a penguin, or a loud free verse poem for the loudest birds, like the Salmon-crested Cockatoo and the Kakapo. The sometimes challenging vocabulary level may seem better suited for an older middle school reader, but beautiful illustrations combine cartoonish and anatomically correct representations with bright colors that pop to make this a treat anyone can enjoy. The notes section explains the structures and rhyming patterns of each poem and helps readers better understand the poems' forms and styles. Also included is a short glossary of terms and reference guide for resources on birding and bird watching.
VERDICT A "top of the class" example of combining two different subjects that are approachable and a joy to read. A win for science and English classrooms.-Thomas Jonte, Pensacola State College, FL

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