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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Woodpecker Wham! Written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. 2015. $20.50 ages 3 and up

"Spring sap rises.
Who will drill?
Sapsucker, sapsucker,
sticky bill!

Fan those feathers.
Shower clean.
Sunbathe dry.
Then oil and preen!"

In descriptive, four line lyrical entries, April Pulley Sayre allows her readers a look at the variety in species of woodpeckers. She informs concerning food, insects and sap. She moves on to their cleansing habits, the homes they make by digging through the bark of trees, the protection those trees provide when trying to outwit a hovering hawk and on it goes ...

Woodpeckers play their part in spreading seeds for new trees to grow, lay eggs and provide tender care until the fledglings are ready to make their own way in the world. Soon, summer has passed and winter approaches. They leave their old nest to find a new one, providing shelter for whatever bird or small animal decides to sublet. Children will learn as they go. Further to the lyrical text and onomatopoeic noises that make these very unique birds recognizable, there are six pages of research notes that help to give readers an abundance of further facts that they will find interesting to their study of the six woodpecker species included here. It assures that this book  meant for young readers has everything needed for older readers and adults as well.

What else can I say, that has not already been said, about the incredible cut paper collages that Steve Jenkins fashions to accompany Ms. Sayre's text? They are lovely, exquisite, intricate and oh, so perfect! His sky-filled backgrounds change as the day passes. His birds are so textural you feel sure you can reach out to touch them; each small detail adds to the beauty of the whole. While some people find woodpeckers and their noise annoying, I will admit that I can hardly wait to hear and see them as spring turns to summer. Right now I am visiting my friends in Ohio, and watch a woodpecker out my bedroom window every morning. As long as he is not boring into the wood siding on the house, I am allowed to enjoy his industriousness.

Please make sure that this fine book is placed next to Eat Like A Bear, 2013 on your child's library shelf. It is a worthy addition.

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