December 26, 2014
On the Wing by David Elliot, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
On the Wing
by David Elliot
illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
From the common Cardinal to the Bower Bird, Elliot’s poetry collection covers a wide range of feathered fliers including both the familiar and the less common.
None of these poems is long but all display an appreciation for each bird as well as wit and humor. Rhythm, rhyme and humor make these poems excllent for reading aloud to share with a group and will easily spark discussion — what does this tell us about this bird? Why did he choose the details he included?
My personal favorite is the humming bird, a functional poem that draws as much meaning from the format as it does from the words themselves.
The gouache paintings, while not spare, contain just enough detail to fully illustrate the bird, depicting their grace, vibrancy or quiet strength as appropriate. Somehow they are reminiscent of watercolor paintings without the translucent quality of that medium.
This book would make an excellent addition to the classroom, encouraging students to observe and then create their own poetry. Marketed for K through 2, this book is short enough to make a good read aloud for younger children but the poems are clever enough and the art sophisticated enough to engage older readers outside of this target age range. I can also see this book as an excellent cuddle time choice on a snowy winter afternoon.