Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas by Jeanette Larson and Adrienne Yorinks with illustrations by Adrienne Yorinks, is a blend of past and present that combines factual information with ancient wisdom of pourquoi tales. Splash in fabric art illustrations and you have an interesting cultural mix that is uniquely American.
Jeanette Larson and Adrienne Yorinks are friends who were looking for a topic to write about together. Adrienne Yorinks has a degree in animal behavior as well as being a fabric artist. Jeanette has written professional books for librarians. When they hit on a mutual interest in hummingbirds, they knew they had a winner. You can read more about their collaboration at Donna Bowman Bratton.
Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures. Here in Arizona Anna’s hummingbirds stay year around, and many species fly through during migrations. You can’t help but be captivated by their bright colors and furious energy.
It may be the hummingbirds attract your interest to this book, but it is the folktales that make it special. Telling folktales was the way people recorded and passed around information before the advent of writing and printing presses. Many people find that these stories make it easier to remember certain concepts. Folktales also offer a glimpse into the culture of the people who told them.
Both the folktales and the fabric art are great ways to inspire a child’s creativity. After reading the tales aloud, they can be the basis for fabric art and craft projects, puppet shows, serve as writing prompts for new folktales and stories, etc. Jeanette Larson has activity sheets and links on her website to help get you started.
This book has been nominated for a Cybils award in the MG/YA nonfiction category, and has gotten a lot of attention. For more informative reviews of Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas, see
Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing (February 1, 2011)
This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Be sure to look for more information about children’s books at today’s Book Talk Tuesday.