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Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas — Book Review

Hummingbird Facts and Folklore book.

Hummingbird Facts and Folklore from the Americas book.

Hummingbirds, Facts and Folklore from the Americas, is a wonderful and surprising new book by Jeanette Larson and Adrienne Yorinks. You can enjoy this book as  biology, folklore and art.

It is wonderful because this 64-page, 8 x 10 book is packed full of beautifully written facts and stories. Even if you have already been reading about hummingbirds I’ll almost guarantee you will find facts in this book that you have not run across before.

The book is concise, authoritative, and easy to understand. It is also entertaining and fun to read. I recommend it for adults and children alike. Author Jeanette Larson is a librarian as well as a writer, and the research, like the writing, was apparently a labor of love.

The book is surprising because the beautiful, realistic illustrations were created with fabric and needlework. Co-author Adrienne Yorinks illustrated the book with her own original needle art.

You can see thousands of hummingbird photos on the Web, but you’ve never seen anything like Yorinks’s simply beautiful needlework paintings. The book would make a great gift for someone who loves the fabric arts.

One reason this is a great book for both adults and children is that while the facts are fascinating, each chapter also includes a Native American teaching story on hummingbirds:

Size and Physical Characteristics —“Why the Hummingbird’s Throat Is Red”

Diet and Food —“Why the Hummingbird Drinks Nectar”

Plumage and Color — “How the Hummingbird Got its Colors”

Flight — “How the Hummingbird Won the Race”

Habitat — “Why the Hummingbird Lives in the Mountains”

Migration — “Why the Hummingbird Migrates to Mexico”

Courtship and Reproduction — “Why the Hummingbird Is Attracted to the Color Red”

Vocalization — “Why the Hummingbird Has no Song”

Predators — “Why the Hummingbird Is a Fearless Warrior”

Formerly a librarian for 25 years, Jeanette Larson now teaches children’s literature and youth programs at Texas Women’s University.

Adrienne Yorninks has a degree in animal behavior. Her art has appeared in many books, including Quilt of States.

Hummingbirds, Facts and Folklore from the Americas, was published in 2011 by Charlesbridge, 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472. It includes a glossary, an index, a bibliography, recommended resources for kids, and a list of hummingbird sanctuaries.

This beautifully designed book lists for only $8.95 in paperback or $16.96 as a hardback book, and you can order it from Amazon for much less.

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