Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Fly With Me

This book is pure gold. Your entire fam­i­ly will want this on your book­shelves so you can dip into it fre­quent­ly. Your library patrons will be grate­ful when you hand them this gem. And in a class­room, this is a gor­geous, STEAM-empow­er­ing, wide­ly-encom­pass­ing book. Read the poet­ry out loud, read the non­fic­tion nar­ra­tives out loud because they’re so inter­est­ing and well-writ­ten,  and share the short sto­ries, pho­tographs, and info­graph­ics.  

Fly with MeFly With Me: A Cel­e­bra­tion of Birds
through Pic­tures, Poems, and Sto­ries
writ­ten by Jane Yolen, Hei­di E.Y. Stem­ple, Jason Stem­ple, and Adam Stem­ple
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Chil­dren’s Books, 2018, 192 pages

Let me draw you in with high­lights from this mag­i­cal book:

Lis­ten­ing to Wrens
Dr. Don­ald Kroods­ma

Wrens, like oth­er birds, have dif­fer­ent dialects–they may be sim­i­lar, but birds of the same species from dif­fer­ent areas often sing dif­fer­ent songs.”

Isn’t that fas­ci­nat­ing? On that page, there is a bird­song sono­gram. We learn how to read it and we can’t help but under­stand how Dr. Kroods­ma has devot­ed his life to his stud­ies of birds.

There’s also a poem by Jane Yolen on this two-page spread:

That Bird Song
“the one stitched togeth­er
with phras­es as sharp,
as honed, as swift
as a pulse of air.

One moment there,
Then gone into mem­o­ry
Until the next bird sings
that song.”

We read the facts, observe the irre­sistible visu­al, and we get to feel the infor­ma­tion through a poem. 

Bird Anatomy

two-page spread from Fly With Me: A Cel­e­bra­tion of Birds through Pic­tures, Poems, and Sto­ries, pages 10–11, copy­right Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Part­ners, LLC, and Jane Yolen, Hei­di E.Y. Stem­ple, Jason Stem­ple, and Adam Stem­ple

How to Pho­to­graph Birds, two very use­ful pages, enlight­ened by a mother/daughter poem, “On the Hunt,” gasp-wor­thy pho­tos, and essen­tial infor­ma­tion (birds see ultra­vi­o­let light).

The authors man­age to con­vey infor­ma­tion that would seem improb­a­ble for the print­ed word, proof that a book can sur­pass pre­sen­ta­tion on a dig­i­tal device.

What are the names of flocks of birds? You prob­a­bly know “an exal­ta­tion of larks,” but do you know “a siege of herons,” “a deceit of lap­wings”? These pages are graced by cou­plets writ­ten by Jane Yolen.

When I perused the back mat­ter, I began to cry. The Authors’ Notes are a lov­ing trib­ute to Pro­fes­sor David Stem­ple, hus­band of Jane Yolen and father of Hei­di, Jason, and Adam Stem­ple. I under­stood the breath­less­ness and excite­ment of read­ing this book: great care and atten­tion, love, was evi­dent here, a trib­ute and gift this fam­i­ly has shared with us.

There is a close-up look at the parts of a feath­er, a sec­tion of state birds, music for two tra­di­tion­al songs about birds, a his­to­ry of fal­con­ry, an homage to Audubon, sev­en short bird tales from around the world … it’s every­thing you can want to know about birds. Did you know the pink col­or of flamin­gos is caused by pink pig­ments in the shrimp they eat?

Firebird, the Ballet

two-page spread from Fly With Me: A Cel­e­bra­tion of Birds through Pic­tures, Poems, and Sto­ries, pages 144–145, copy­right Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Part­ners, LLC, and Jane Yolen, Hei­di E.Y. Stem­ple, Jason Stem­ple, and Adam Stem­ple

The design­ers at Nation­al Geo­graph­ic should win an award for this book: the design, col­ors, lay­out, thought­ful pre­sen­ta­tion of info­graph­ics, the way text is placed on the page, every­thing serves its pur­pose with imag­i­na­tion and inspi­ra­tion. While read­ing this book, I often found my hand over my heart and my mouth open. Enchant­i­ng. Mov­ing.

A sec­tion on Famous Cit­i­zen Sci­en­tists gives clear direc­tions for how you can become one.

The bird species that are gone for­ev­er, what caused them to dis­ap­pear, and what’s being done to save endan­gered species.

I believe this book will be opened often because it is irre­sistible.

I believe every fam­i­ly, library, class­room, and places where books are gath­ered should hold a copy of Fly with Me. One can­not help but love, admire, and need to save our birds after read­ing and savor­ing this book. Thanks to the authors and Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Chil­dren’s Books for their gift to all of us.

One Response to Fly With Me

  1. Heidi Stemple December 13, 2018 at 9:30 am #

    Thank you for your love­ly review! We are so proud of this book and feel hon­ored that peo­ple are enjoy­ing it. Hei­di (and the Yolen-Stem­ple fam­i­ly)

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