Today’s Cybils nominee, The Wolf-Birds by Willow Dawson, was a complete surprise. It was shelved in the fiction section of our library. It looks and reads like a fictional picture book. Watch out, however, because under the fictional look is a serious nonfiction work based on cutting-edge animal behavior research.
Why are ravens called wolf-birds? Dawson reveals there is a complex relationship between ravens and gray wolves, particularly in areas with cold, harsh winters. It all points to the idea that nature is not as simple as it sometimes seems, that interrelationships exist that we might not be aware of, but that can be easily disrupted because of our actions.
As to be expected, a book about predators must necessarily feature the deaths of a few animals. In this case, the author put a lot of thought into how death was presented. Find out more with this fabulous Q-and-A video with the author.
As for the illustrations, the unique and exciting acrylic paintings lend a primal feel and would be perfect inspirations for art lessons on cave paintings or aboriginal art. Pull out the charcoal, cray-pas, and earth-toned paper!
Overall, The Wolf-Birds is perfect for young readers interested in science and nature, particularly animals. It is also likely to appeal to those readers who think they prefer fiction. It is one of those versatile books to pull it out for units on winter, animal behavior, and even art.
Related: Sue recently reviewed this book at Nonfiction Monday.
Looking for more children’s books about birds? Check out our growing list of books for young birdwatchers at Science Books for Kids.
Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Owlkids Books (September 15, 2015)
Disclosures: This book was provided by our local library. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.