Thunder Birds: Nature’s Flying Predators

Book Reviews

Thunder Birds: Nature’s Flying Predators.
Arnosky, Jim (author). Illustrated by Jim Arnosky.
May 2011. 32p. Sterling, hardcover, $14.95 (9781402756610). Grades 2-5. 598.153.
REVIEW. First published June 1, 2011 (Booklist).

After revisiting favorite birding spots with his wife and “partner in adventure,” Deanna, Arnosky offers a beautifully illustrated book featuring large avian predators: eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, vultures, herons, egrets, pelicans, loons, cormorants, and gannets. Beside paragraphs introducing each bird or group of birds, the book offers impressive, often full-size acrylic paintings illustrating, for instance, an osprey with one wing fully extended or a close-up “group portrait” of owls that shows their relative sizes. In addition, small black-and-gray silhouettes illustrate an eagle, a hawk, and a falcon in flight, and shaded pencil drawings show details such as a pelican’s pouch expanding as it traps a fish underwater. Whether holding a wounded wild eagle as a biologist stitches his wing muscle or watching a flock of vultures as they feed on an alligator carcass, Arnosky’s experiences with birds form a memorable counterpoint to the information provided. An author’s note lists the parks, refuges, and sanctuaries visited and recommends books for further reading. — Carolyn Phelan

Horn Book Guide:
Arnosky, Jim Thunder Birds: Nature’s Flying Predators  32 pp. Sterling 2011. ISBN 978-1-4027-5661-0 (3) 4-6
Arnoksy’s ode to birds of prey includes information about vultures, pelicans, loons, etc. Four spreads depicting life-size illustrations of eagles, hawks, and falcons; owls; herons and egrets; and pelicans are standouts. The brief description of each species provides some context to this visual tribute to the largest birds in the sky. Reading list.


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