Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas
written by Jeanette Larson and Adrienne Yorinks; illustrated by Adrienne Yorinks
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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Like the authors, I am fascinated by the tiny iridescent warrior known as the hummingbird. I remember one sundown at a lake in South Carolina spent watching a hummingbird defend its territory of a bush and a feeder. You could hear the wings buzzing and see the darting missile going in and out of the bush. I also remember my own feeder and being buzzed by the king of that castle. Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas is a unique tribute to these beloved birds. Each section consists of a facts section accompanied by a piece of folklore from a native culture in the Americas. For example, there is an article about hummingbird predators where the authors tell about how animals such as hawks, roadrunners, snakes, freshwater bass (yikes!), and even dragonflies are a threat to these birds. Following this is an Aztec legend that explains how Aztec warriors were transformed into hummingbirds when they died on the battlefield. In addition, Adrienne Yorinks's quilt illustrations are stunning. You enjoy the brilliant colors, but the textures pull you in for repeated viewings as well.
I love books like this that can be used in so many ways. For language arts, you can teach pourquoi tales which are folklore explanations of how something came into being. If you have students create animal research reports, there are plenty of facts in this text for students to learn. The excellent back matter is a great source for teaching how to use text features such as glossaries, indexes, and resource lists. I suspect that when I look back on 2011, Hummingbirds will stand as one of my favorite nonfiction books of the year.
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