This spring, for some reason, I’ve been noticing birds more than ever before. Their sounds, their colors, their omnipresence. And that reminded me of Barbara Reid’s lovely illustrations for the children’s book, Have You Seen Birds? It’s worth a look even if you don’t have a child to read it with. Reid’s Plasticine illustrations are expressive, detailed and colorful. It’s the kind of book that can make you aware of things around you that tend to go unnoticed.
In the same vein, I also recommend Saskatchewan Birds by Alan Smith. I discovered this beautifully illustrated book, and many of the birds described in it, while attending the Sage Hill Writing Experience last May. As a city-dweller, I tended to notice the obvious birds— sparrows, robins, the ubiquitous Canada geese— while remaining oblivious to the thrushes, warblers and nuthatches. This book showed me that
- Sparrows are more varied— and unexpectedly beautiful— than I realized
- In movies, the cry of a red-tailed hawk is often paired with the image of an eagle, because eagles do not have impressive voices
- There really is such a thing as a coot