On the Wing – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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wingTitle: On the Wing

Written by: David Elliott

Illustrated by: Becca Stadtlander

Published by: Candlewick Press, 2014

Themes/Topics: birds, birding, verse

Suitable for ages: 6-9

Example spread:



David Elliot and Becca Stadtlander invite the reader to wonder and smile at the variety, specificity, humor, majesty and splendor of fifteen birds—from the garden sparrow to the soaring Andean Condor and the prancing flamingos of the Carribbean.  The narrative for each bird is in witty verse and the illustrations are detailed, realistic nature paintings of each species in its perfect habitat.

Why I like This Book:

An enchanting and instructional book, which offers young readers a beautiful and entertaining introduction to both verse and birdlife. The stanzas are informative and lyrical, infused with the specific movement and color of each of the birds. For example, the humming bird verse flits and buzzes across the first pages in spurts. The flamingo poem is full of the same energy as the flamboyance of flamingoes taking flight seen in the illustration. Or listen to this perfect rhythm and word choice.

Oh pity then                                                                                                                             the bowerbird!                                                                                                                 Nature’s fussy,                                                                                                                   lovesick architect.


If you are doing a unit on birds, I would pair this with Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple’s YOU NEST HERE WITH ME, FEATHERS NOT JUST FOR FLYING, Written by Melissa Stewart & Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen, and for some flight humor, FLIGHT SCHOOL by Lita Judge.

Here is the trailer for ON THE WING:

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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5 Responses to On the Wing – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. This book is a gem. I love the illustrations. Listened to the video and it is so powerful. What a beautiful book of poetry about birds.

  2. Loving the video! Thanks. I cower listening to the Great Horned owl in one of my front trees too!

  3. Wendy Greenley says:

    Thanks for introducing me to this. The video is wonderful. I laughed out loud at the crow’s caw-caw-phony!

  4. lovely book – lovely art, wonderful poetry. So peaceful just to open the pages and relax into the flow of the words and images.

  5. Andrea says:

    What a treasure of a book!

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