How to Make a Bird

how to make a bird

Book Information

Reader Personality Type
Candlewick April 2021

“All I know she sang a little while

and then flew on”

-- Hunter/Garcia, “Bird Song” (1972)

“To make a bird…

you will need a lot of very tiny bones.

They will be smaller than you might imagine,

some so tiny they are barely there.

And they will be hollow,

these hundreds of bones--

so light

that when they rest in your palm,

you will hardly feel them.

These are what will float on air.”

Hollow bones, feathers, a fast-beating, sturdy heart, sharp eyes, a beak, and strong claws. These attributes are the stuff of which birds are made, and the focus of this exquisite and lyrical work-of-art picture book from Australia. In it, a girl assembles the parts discussed, and the resulting bird comes to life and flies away.

My love for this book begins with the cover. It features birds soaring high in the sky as dusk approaches. Tip the book into the light in order to see the semi-transparent bird schematic drawings that overlay that sky scene. Inside, the illustrations include breathtaking, intricate drawings of bird bones; a whimsical oceanfront structure; the child inside that structure who dreams up and then assembles the bird components; and the creature she ultimately creates and unleashes, and to whom she must bid goodbye.

Birds are miraculous little creatures. HOW TO MAKE A BIRD, a notably creative and innovative work, depicts birds in a whole new light. What a beauty of a book!

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

See more of Richie's Picks


Stunning imagery and moving language let imagination take flight in an ethereal primer on making a bird.

Breathe deeply and take your time. The making of a bird is not a thing to be hurried.

To make a bird, you’ll need hundreds of tiny, hollow bones, so light you can barely feel them on your palm. So light they can float on air. Next you’ll need feathers for warmth and lift. There will be more besides—perhaps shells and stones for last touches. But what will finally make your bird tremble with dreams of open sky and soaring flight? From award-winning author Meg McKinlay and celebrated artist Matt Ottley comes a lyrical and lovely picture book that shows how small things, combined with wonder and a steady heart, can transform into works of magic.---from the publisher

32 pages                        978-1536215267                        Ages 4-8

Keywords:  birds, nature, biology, zoology, wonder, dreams, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old

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