nonfiction nuggets…birds are fascinating creatures

Outside and Inside Birds, by Sandra Markle

Did you know that many birds have more neck bones than a giraffe?  Or that hummingbirds eat twice their weight in nectar every day?  Have you seen the hollow insides of a bird’s bone, or what an egg looks like while it’s still inside a kiwi bird? 

This little book is crammed with interesting information about birds, written in a clear, engaging style.  Beginning with a look at the various features that enable a bird to fly, Markle moves on to discuss eating habits, including specialized beaks or feet which allow birds to eat their own particular kinds of food, and an explanation of birds’ digestive systems complete with photos.  She also tells us about breathing, sight, hearing, and eggs. 

There are a lot of very nice photographs in the book, and Markle uses them to illustrate specific aspects of what she is explaining.  Close up photos of a downy pelican chick eating partially digested fish from his parent’s enormous mouth, or of a bone-speckled owl pellet, or a grebe just in the process of laying her egg, are incredible windows into the world of birds.

Much of the information in the book is simple enough for even a kindergartener to understand and enjoy, while some of the vocabulary and concepts will be better appreciated by older elementary kids.  Pair this with a David Attenborough bird documentary and you will have some very bird-savvy folk on your hands! 

Here’s the Amazon link:   Outside and Inside Birds