Cover Image: Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel

Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel

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Member Reviews

This was interesting. I had herd of some of the terms for various birds, but thought it was referring to what various flocks were called. I never thought it meant what they were when they were in motion!. I liked the Kettle of hawks.; they really do resemble roiling water when in flight. Very informative book for us word lovers. I think kids will enjoy it, too. Illustrations are grand!

I located a copy of this book at my local library so I could read and review it.
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I loved learning about the behavior of twelve different birds in this beautiful book! The snippets of information are fascinating and the illustrations are captivating. Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel and Other Poems of Birds in Flight is the perfect mentor text to study animal behavior. Learners can explore how illustrator Mark Hoffman captures movement using different art techniques. They can try some of these techniques while studying their favorite animal.
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This is a book about various kinds of birds that entertains the reader or listener through poems, while educating them with information about the bird species on the following page. Each species is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. I love how the author took nouns, in particular what groups of birds are called, and turned them into verbs, (i.e. wheeling puffins, mobbing crows, geese skeining, etc.). Between the poems, illustrations and explanations of the bird's behaviors, will give the reader a better understanding of the species. The illustrations are gorgeous and really bring the birds to life! The great variety of birds covered in this book was good as they were ones that many children would not be familiar with. I do believe this book is better for children ages 8 and up. I read a couple of the poems to my grandson (he just turned 6) and he listened to them, but after a few poems, he asked for a different book. I think this would be a great book for classrooms when they are learning about birds and the way they move, as well as when doing a unit on poetry. It is nice to show students how you can blend both poetry and science.
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I'm sorry to say that this was a bit of a disappointment for our bird-loving and poetry-loving family. I read it with my 7 year-old daughter, Fiona, last night and I ended up finishing it myself because it was far too long and droning for her. I can't see my older kids really getting much out of it either, unfortunately.

The premise is wonderful -- it's a mix of poetry about birds and bird facts, with lovely illustrations. However, the poetry is free verse and quite long, and the information is also quite a lot. It became very dull for both myself and my daughter within the first couple of pages.

The art is nice and the text is full of information, but I'm not sure who the target reader is here. The poetry is not exceptional and it's just so much reading on every page.

This might be better suited for adults who love poetry and birds. Most kids are probably not going to be able to stick with the whole thing, unfortunately.

My rating system:
1 = hated it
2 = it was okay
3 = liked it
4 = really liked it
5 = love it, plan to purchase, and/or would buy it again if it was lost

I read a temporary digital ARC of the book for the purpose of review.
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I loved it! We're quite big fans of birds at our school, so was definitely pleased to read this book and it did not disappoint. The whole book is beautiful and I enjoyed the illustrations as much as the text. This book goes further than a 'typical' poetry book and includes lots of easily accessible information about the birds as well as extras, such as the page showing the different feathers. I have already shown colleagues this book and we will definitely be ordering our own copies when it's released.
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I am always looking for great new poetry books to add to my classroom. This is a great nonfiction book that gives a poem about a bird and then a paragraph detailing the information in the poem. Wonderful language used and could open up a lot of vocabulary opportunities.
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I love that this book combines poetry and nonfiction. My school mascot is the Hawk so I will definitely get this for our school library. But not just for the hawk in the title but because it is a very fun and informative book.
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I received this arc from Netgalley for an honest review. I love this new bird book filled with poems about so many different types of birds. Beautiful illustrations accompany each page.
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This is a bit of a strange non-fiction title. Poems about various species of birds are interspersed with explanatory blocks of prose. While it sort of works, I'm not sure if the type of kid who wants to read about the habits of birds is the same type of kid who wants to read poetry.

I'm also not convinced by some of the word usage. As another reviewer pointed out, some of the words that Vande Griek uses as verbs are not verbs. While I wouldn't normally have a problem with that in poetry, this is first and foremost a non-fiction title for children. I prefer to see language following the rules in this kind of book.

The illustrations are adequate, showing off the distinctive features of each type of bird. However, some of the pictures just don't look quite right. The illustrations aren't photorealistic, which is disappointing given the non-fiction nature of the book. (Some of the crows actually look more like bats; some even have a weirdly human quality that's kind of creepy.)

Combining poetry with non-fiction information is a unique concept, but I'm not entirely sold on the execution here. This could almost be separated into two books--one of straight poetry, one of straight non-fiction--and they'd probably each work better on their own.
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Come here for some very interesting information about how birds act in the sky – the Stuka bombing of peregrine falcons, the mobbing of perceived threats by crows, the wheeling of puffins to form a collective safety-in-numbers.  Come here if you wish for the artwork, which gets the birds and some of their environments looking OK.  But don't come for the "poetry", which is the poorest of blank verse, and not at all worth tormenting your pupils with.  As a result, there was too much here I could have done without, alongside the useful lessons in avian activity, for me to really recommend it.  That said, adding the fact that hawks kettle and terns dread to the idea that doves cry was at least beneficial.
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Probably best suited for kids aged 7-10, this is a lively nonfiction picture book which mostly focuses on the distinctive movements of twelve different kinds of birds as they migrate, feed, court, or try to protect themselves. The author includes a poem and a paragraph about the special moves each feathered creature is known for. (At the back of the book, readers can also find a glossary, additional information about the birds, and drawings of their feathers.) Artist Mark Hoffman’s illustrations, if not anatomically exact, effectively suggest the quality of the birds’ movements. 

I certainly appreciated the facts Vande Griek presented, but I wasn’t overly impressed by her poems. Their language is often bland, repetitive, and clumsy. While poetry sometimes affords a writer greater flexibility than prose, I don’t see it as an excuse to break rules of proper usage. There are a fair number of misplaced and dangling modifiers in the poems, and Vande Griek likes to make her own verbs out of words that are actually nouns. Some might find this playful; I don’t see it as a good thing in a children’s nonfiction book melding science and literature. For example, Vande Griek tells us that “Geese skein” and “Hawks kettle”. In fact, a skein is “a flock of wild geese or swans in flight”, while a kettle is “a large group of raptors circling high in the sky on an updraft of warm air.” The words are nouns. They don’t represent actions but formations. There are many more examples of this kind of careless writing. The author is not as sensitive to the nuances of language as a poet needs to be. Precision counts.

Criticisms aside, I’d still recommend the book for the interesting and sometimes unusual facts it provides. One of the more compelling sections for me was Vande Griek’s discussion of the aerial courtship cartwheels of bald eagles, which may be the eagle’s way of testing the fitness of a potential mate or a bonding ritual. I’ve provided a link to some red kites performing a similar  display:
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I found that I learned a lot of new things about birds and different sayings used for them from this book. A good addition to any collection but especially for someone who likes birds.
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Mixing poems and informations on birds. Original mix but nothing much of an interest for me in the poems or the info... so even if I like the idea, the execution let me down a bit.
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There are many things to love about this book, but the main one for me is the opportunity it will give to introduce my daughter to poetry. What a clever idea!! Each bird that is highlighted gets its very own poem, then a small paragraph containing an interesting fact about that bird. The illustrations are gorgeous and really bring the birds to life! The great variety of birds covered in this book is also cool because its always good to learn new things. Once the poems end, they have another small summary on each bird consisting of further information and then finally, a picture of what each bird's feathers look like. 

I definitely recommend this to anyone! I hope the author decides to do another edition on another type of animal. If she made a whole series, I would be sure to buy the whole thing! 

Thanks to Netgalley, Kids Can Press and Susan Vande Griek for the opportunity to read this book and provide an honest review.

Review Date: 06/29/19
Publication Date: 09/03/19
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