Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book Review: Birdscapes

You've probably seen Chronicle Books' Bird Songs from Around the World book. It's the one that lets you type in a number of a bird to hear the bird's song or call. Their latest book, Birdscapes: A Pop-Up Celebration of Bird Songs in Stereo Sound, is a marvel of paper and sound. Each set of pages is a pop-up of a different scene from a North American bird habitat. Swamps, farmlands, arctic tundra, Pacific rainforest, and many others are represented - seven in all. As you open each page, the sounds of the birds are played in stereo. A card on each page tells you which birds are calling during the timeline of the recording. The "paper engineering," a term I didn't know existed until I saw this book, is astounding. Each page has intricate details of foliage, landscape, and other objects. For example, in the Pacific rainforest, moss hangs free from the trees in giving a neat three-dimensional feel. You'll find youself saying, "Wow, how do they make this fold and unfold?" The drawings are accurate, detailed, and bold. The audio is crisp. Each scene will have you searching for the hidden birds and seeing new things each time. Any child who is old enough not to grab and rip the paper will really enjoy it, as will any teen, adult, or anyone who would enjoy some exposure to nature. It's a book to take out at a party and let people play with it.

I have only two complaints. First, I wish they included a page on backyard birds to show the more common birds that people will encounter. My second complaint is that the book is really large. It's 3" thick, 13" tall, and 11" wide. I fully understand that this type of book warrants this size, but you may want to keep this in mind if you purchase it. Other than these limitations, this book is a terrific book for your collection or a gift for a bird-lover in your life.


Barbara said...

Beautiful books! I agree with you, you're never to old to enjoy a pop-up book, especially of this quality. Glad I read your blog before finishing up my Christmas shopping (every year I vow to finish by the first week of Dec....every year I FAIL!) :D

Thanks for the great post!

Patrick Belardo said...

I've barely started! I've got a list though, so that's a start. I hope you find someone good to give the book to.

Anne said...

I bought this for my Grandmother who is 83. She loves birds and the outdoors. She is getting older and staying out hunting for birds is not as extensive as it used to be. I am crossing my fingers she will love it. I wrote about it on my blog.