Wolf, Sallie, and Micah Bornstein. The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: A Birder's Journal. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2010.
This nonfiction book combines interesting bird facts, journaling, and poetry in a fascinating manner. This title is aimed for children grades 4-8, but I think it could be shared with younger children as well. The book information page tells us that the illustrations were created using watercolor, pen and ink on the author's original journal pages and on handmade paper, which were then scanned and finished using Photoshop. The binding of the book is similar to a bound journal which is a very nice touch. There is a table of contents to help the reader organize the information included in the book. Much of the font used throughout the book is handwritten notes from the author.
At the beginning of the book, there is a note from the author telling the reader how she became a bird lover and avid bird-watcher. The poem like journal entries contain facts about birds and observations the author has made. Throughout the book are hand drawn labeled illustrations of birds mixed with watercolor pictures. The entries begin in the Spring time and continue through all the seasons. There are various bird lists contained on the pages. One of the poems is about a robin making a laughing sound and another is displayed inside the shape of bird eggs (whole and hatched).
The end of the book includes a note from the author describing how she began keeping a journal when she was a young girl. This may inspire some young readers to start keeping a journal of their own. There is also a list of resources at the back of the book. These include the following websites: All About Birds, Bird Watching in the USA and Around the World, and eNature: America's Wildlife Resource.
This book has received a star review from School Library Journal. You can read another review and an interview with the author at the Wild About Nature blog. Sallie Wolf has her own blog called Learning as I Go. The book even has its own Facebook page!
Extension Activities: This book would be a great addition to a study of birds or journaling. The publisher, Charlesbridge, has available on their website a free discussion guide, activity suggestions and some bird identification cards for printing.
Be sure to read the other Nonfiction Monday posts, this week hosted at Shelf Employed.