In this satire on environmental collapse set in the near future, many of our avian friends have sadly been extinct for decades, but Alfred Wallis and his Aviary Wonders Company enthusiastically supply hobbyists with everything they need to create their own birds. Readers browse the current color catalogue to select parts to customize their own beautiful marvel, beginning with basic bodies and adding wings, beaks, feet, etc. appropriate to the lifestyle one chooses for their own beastie. Lots of samples are provided based on birds of the yore (and informative insets are included that remark on the passing of various species). Do you prefer a wader like an ibis or egret? Perhaps a swimmer such a swan or guillemot? Tails suitable for each bird come in a variety of aesthetically pleasing designs, and lots of helpful guidance is offered on how best to select the correct legs, wattles, combs, etc: proper attachment of each feature, and troubleshooting hints are also included. This is as cleverly executed as it is edifying, with a fair amount of information on physical adaptation, and the catalog conceit actually advances the organizational success. The gilding-the-lily exaggeration of birds’ natural beauty is satire at its child-appropriate best, and the subtle digs at our perennial efforts to domesticate animals for our pleasure won’t be lost on young readers. Pair this with Annette Cate’s Look Up! (BCCB 3/13), grab the binoculars, and let’s go bird watching while we still can.
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Samworth, Kate. Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual: Renewing the World’s Bird Supply Since 2031; written and illus. by Kate Samworth. Clarion, 2014. [32p]. ISBN 978-0-547-97899-4 $17.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 3-6.
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