Beautiful bird art in picturebooks

In our local park is a cacophonous aviary of rescued birds of all sizes and colours. Among these is a gleaming albino peacock named ,after a competition by local school children, “Lord Sparkles”.

We have been visiting the birds since our now three year old daughter was just a few weeks old, and have seen them through the seasons in different lights and weather.

Birds are among the most popular characters of choice in picturebooks, and there is a bounty of bird art to be found upon their pages. Recently, we’ve enjoyed three new titles that all feature birds as their central theme. Although their artistic styles are very different, each illustrator clearly demonstrates passion and love for their subjects.

Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle, published by Chronicle Books

The third ‘Flora’ book from Molly Idle, all of which have featured birds, this is a tale of friendship and rivalry, told through the spirit of dance in lavish emerald and turquoise.

Two peacocks, green with envy, vie for attention from a girl with an ornamental fan, each displaying their plumage in an effort to outbid the other.

A clever use of lifting flaps literally provides the twists and turns to a wordless yet fully engaging story (including a magnificent fold-out double page). Compromise wins the day and provides a satisfying, happy ending.

Abracadabra, It’s Spring! by Anne Sibley O’Brien (words) and Susan Gal (illustrator), published by Abrams Appleseed

Spring bursts from the page in this strikingly colourful tale of the changing seasons. The last ice of winter melts in the morning sun, and new shoots appear from the previously frosted ground. Birds start to make their nests before the hatching of new arrivals. Blossoms and fruits emerge.

Each spread is filled with a rainbow of colours, which double in size as eleven gatefolds reveal the next stage of each scene. A pleasing rhyme, interspersed with magical commands (‘Sun shines on a patch of snow. Hocus pocus! Where did it go?’) accompanies the pages like a gentle breeze.

Some Birds by Matt Spink, published by David Fickling Books

In this debut picturebook, Matt Spink depicts a dazzling array of birds through a truly unique style that combines the intricacies of mosaic with the shimmering intensity of stained glass windows.

A lively rhyme accompanies a diversity of birds – some big, some small, some that squawk, some that hop, some that swim – as each bird’s individual and shared qualities are celebrated.

Other favourite picturebooks featuring beautiful bird art (all previously reviewed on this blog) include: ‘The Dawn Chorus’ by Suzanne Barton; ‘Puffin Peter’ by Petr Horacek; ‘Owl Babies’ by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson; and ‘WOW! Said the Owl’ by Tim Hopgood.