Monday, August 20, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Bird, Butterfly, Eel by James Prosek

I seem to be in a cycle of nonfiction cycles...

I bought this a few years ago, but never got around to reviewing it, or indeed using it much at all which is a pity since it's a lovely title.

The book alternates between full color watercolor spreads of the bird, butterfly, and eel and three parallel panels, comparing their migratory journeys. On the farm, butterfly (a monarch) lays her eggs in the meadow. Bird (a barn swallow) builds her nest in the barn and cares for her babies. Eel (American Eel) eats fish and insects and builds her strength.

Eventually, they all migrate - the bird to South America, the butterfly to Mexico, and the eel to the Sargasso Sea. A final note gives more details and information on the three species, their migration, and the history of research into their behaviors.

The text is simple and suited for reading aloud, the paintings colorful and easy to follow and enjoy. There are a few things I found odd - the text explains that the butterfly is a monarch but doesn't identify the bird or eel except in the final note. It was a little confusing that the three all migrate for different reasons and I would have liked to see that delineated a little more clearly in the text.

Verdict: Beautifully illustrated and the text is suitable for reading aloud - the few minor quibbles don't overshadow the excellence of this title. Worth adding to your collection even if you missed it the first time around.

ISBN: 9780689868290; Published 2009 by Simon and Schuster; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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