One Dark Bird
One Dark Bird
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Annotation: A single starling is joined by hundreds more, and together they dance across the sky, finally settling into the trees.
Catalog Number: #194057
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Preston-Gannon, Frann,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-534-40443-0
ISBN 13: 978-1-534-40443-4
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2018039906
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
A brief paragraph defines a murmuration ("a single-seeming mass [of birds] that performs coordinated acrobatic dances in the sky"), then a counting-book frame illustrates one composed of starlings. Hand-drawn and digital illustrations, mostly focused on the rooftops and the bird's-eye views, convey a warm, colorful afternoon in a community of people and pets. This story and its inspiring sky-set dance can elicit new appreciation for the natural world.
Kirkus Reviews
Starlings and their ability to form the avian phenomenon known as murmurations propel this rhyming counting tale from day into night.The sun shines on an iridescent bird as it surveys its world. Soon its group grows from one to 10, allowing readers to count each starling silhouette. As they fly over a multicultural town, hundreds join their flock to chatter and sing. But when danger appears, the starlings act as one, twisting and turning across a twilight sky until dusk slowly sends them home. Thus begins a quiet countdown, ending with one starling asleep in a moonlit tree. Scanlon's closing stanza, almost identical to the first, brings a deliciously satisfying end to the day. Digitally collaged illustrations, done in a warm color palette, use simplified shapes to playfully symbolize different objects. Close-ups of the starlings' lustrous, rainbowlike colors highlight Preston-Gannon's skillful understanding of the way light reveals itself on a dark form. A brief but thrilling description of starlings and murmurations on the title page may pique older readers' interest while the rhyming text and lush illustrations will hold the attention of all.Perfect for the budding ornithologist's bookshelf. (Picture book. 3-7)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The dark, iridescent starling is the star of this arresting counting book, where 1 bird perched above a cheerful town is incrementally joined by others, giving children the chance to practice counting 1 through 10. As the day wears on, more and more starlings take to the peachy-blue sky until a hawk appears, uniting the birds in a breathtaking murmuration. To evade the predator, the flock dives and careens as one: "Waves like water / dark then light / from down to up / then left to right." Scanlon's well-written rhymes beat in time with the wings of her subjects, whose dramatic movements flow through Preston-Gannon's richly colored illustrations. Mixing digital with hand-drawn techniques, the simplistic town scenes give way to choreographed chaos in a jewel-toned sky. Aqua, teal, tangerine, emerald, and gold all frame the starlings' impressive flight maneuvers, during which they appear as black dots or silhouettes. All these colors also appear in close-ups of the starlings' feathers, rendering each bird a dark avian rainbow. When at last the hawk has gone, the flock begins to disperse, giving readers the chance to count backwards this time, from 10 to 1, as the last starling perches in a tree, its beak tucked in sleep beneath its wing. This book goes beyond counting, showing children how wondrous ordinary can be.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (6/1/19)
Starred Review for Horn Book (8/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3
Lexile: NP

From award-winning author Liz Garton Scanlon and celebrated artist Frann Preston-Gannon comes a gorgeously illustrated, lyrical counting book that will have young readers’ imaginations taking flight.

One dark bird is perched up high, with a view of the town and a taste of the sky. Then she’s joined by two more, then three, then four. Before long, there are hundreds of starlings dancing across the sky—and avoiding a hunting hawk with one of the most spectacular tricks in the animal kingdom. Then, when night comes, the starlings begin to depart, until finally there is just one dark bird perched way up high, with a view of the town and a taste of the sky.

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