Review: Birds of a Feather: Bowerbirds and Me by Susan L. Roth

Birds of a Feather Bowerbirds and Me by Susan Roth

Birds of a Feather: Bowerbirds and Me by Susan L. Roth (9780823442829)

Collage artist Roth takes a look at the amazing bowerbird and how her work and their building process compare with one another. Both she and the bowerbird are collectors of random items. They use those items to create compositions. For the bowerbird, that is a bower for their courtship process. They both like unusual objects that they use to create art, things that no one else might ever combine in that way. They both pay attention to color and both seek out praise for their work in the end.

I was really pleasantly surprised by the content and construct of this picture book. While I knew it would be about bowerbirds and humans, I didn’t expect it to be so directly related to the artistic side of both. Roth beautifully shows the fascinating correlations between her work and that of the bird. She demonstrates both in her collage illustrations and in the text of the book how similar they actually are. The text though is kept wonderfully simple, making this book about art very accessible even for young children. She completes the book with more facts about the birds and about her own work as well as a bibliography of sources.

Roth’s illustrations are fabulous. Bright and filled with objects of all kinds, they fill the page with vibrancy. Most of the pages show the bird and then Roth, each working in a similar way on their art. The result is a book about Roth’s way of making art that is also an example of the art itself. Clever stuff!

A very successful mix of nature, science and art. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Sign Off by Stephen Savage

Sign Off by Stephen Savage

Sign Off by Stephen Savage (9781534412101)

At night, the images on street signs come to life and jump right off their signs! The deer on the sign munches some leaves. The tractor on the caution sign plows up some dirt as he drives past. The wheelchair sign uses the car parked in its spot to zoom down to the street. The worker on the sign makes a sandcastle out of the dirt pile. Road crossing signs become a place for romance. Children at play, actually play. As dawn arrives, all of the animals and people from the signs get together at a street light sign and greet the day in their own special way.

This wordless picture book takes the concept of toys coming to life at night into a different two-dimensional story. Savage cleverly uses them in silhouette to show what is something from a sign. The real life backgrounds are done in full color, so the black silhouettes pop against them. Each sign is interesting and their activity at being freed is unique to them. The story is simple and the presentation fascinating.

A playful and interesting book for a road trip or just staying at home. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Simon & Schuster.