Books & Literature

Book Review: Book of Curious Birds, by Jennifer Cossins

PICTURE BOOK: Explore some of the world’s most curious birds in this beautifully illustrated guide from bestselling author and illustrator Jennifer Cossins.

Have your curiosity satisfied with pictures and facts about some weird and wonderful birds.
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Feature image credit: Hachette Australia

Tasmanian author and artist Jennifer Cossins has a sterling reputation for her children’s picture books having been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia award. She has written and illustrated more than a dozen books on various aspects of wildlife, natural history, and nature. She often incorporates other interesting facts, as in her 2015 book 101 Collective Nouns, which provides an incredible 101 animal illustrations, each with its appropriate group name.

Her latest book on birds, a large-format, hardcover book, is beautifully illustrated, featuring accurate, yet often comical, full page pictures of the 28 birds included. The cover alone features 13 amazing birds, including two of my favourites, a Blue Footed Booby, and a Tufted Puffin. I was delighted to learn that both these birds are monogamous and share parental duties. This is distinctly different from the parental behaviour of the Southern Cassowary, where the male incubates the eggs and raises the young for nearly a year, after his mate has abandoned the eggs.

Cossins’ approach in this book is to pick out some of the weird and wonderful members of the bird world to illustrate and describe, thus drawing in readers through humour and the fanciful or quaint behaviour of the birds. Only recently recognised as a distinct species, I imagine the Vogelkop superb bird-of-paradise of New Guinea is included for the stunning black and iridescent blue plumage the male displays during the courtship, and the unusual dance itself which was part of how it was recognised as a different species.

Readers of any age will find this book fascinating and educational, learning lots of new facts about birds through the terrific words and images. There is even a glossary explaining new words. Given the environmental issues of climate change, habitat destruction, and endangered species, this book is a valuable reminder of the important roles many different species of birds play in a variety of ecosystems around the world.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw       

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Hachette Australia
Released: October 2021
RRP: $26.99

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