May 7, 2012
Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
I have to admit it — I’m disgustingly fascinated by turkey vultures. I love to watch them circle in the sky, rocking back and forth gently in the air currents. As much as I love to watch them in the air, that’s where my interest stops. I know what they eat and that’s enough for me.
Still, April Pulley Sayre is one of my favorite nonfiction picture book authors and Steve Jenkins is an amazing illustrator so I picked this up to see what they could do with this topic.
The book covers a vulture day from sun up one day to sun up the next. It describes how they soar on the air currents (hurrah!) and drink in the various smells on the search for food (apprehension rising). Not to worry, the book is accurate while being sensitive of the fact that not all readers will be ready for an up-close-and-personal look at vultures dining.
Jenkin’s collage illustrations depict everything from vultures flying to their actual food but do so in a way that isn’t overly detailed or gory. The book couldn’t be honest and deliver this in any way that would be more gentle.
Hurrah to Jenkins and Sayre for accurately depicting the web of life and showing young readers a bit about an animal that few people know much about.
My favorite illustrations are the silhouettes of roosting vultures against a red evening sky although Jenkins ability to depict fluffy white clouds amazes me.
This is probably more of a boy book than a girl book but it is definitely a worthy ready for any youngster who loves nature. With a 1.1 AR level it would also be suitable for newly independent readers who still love highly illustrated texts.