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review 2016-07-08 05:27
The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
The Genius of Birds - Jennifer Ackerman

Im a big fan of birds. I just love my tiny feathered friends! I also love watching birds. I keep a bird journal of unusual sightings in our yard. Our yard is a bird oasis and we provide seed, houses, and bird baths in hopes to attract migrating wonders. My favorites are owls, hummingbirds and painted buntings. Indigo buntings are beautiful, too. I've also owned a couple of exotic birds from a Macaw with an attitude to my sweet Lemmi, a Ringneck parrot. I've never thought of birds as unintelligent. I've always thought there were some birds wiser than others but, no! I would never refer to a bird as "bird-brained". Jennifer Ackerman's bird travels and research, which she translated into a brilliant book, proves what I've suspected all along. Birds are quite clever little creatures. I have trouble remembering where I placed my sunglasses but the Clark's nutcracker can bury a large cache of seeds and berries, (up to 30,000 nuts or seeds!!) in a large area over several months and remembers where every single cache is. Astonishing, isn't it? Birds survival skills are phenomenal as well. We need a GPS app to get from town to town. Birds? Masters of travel. How do they know this stuff? Again, Ackerman sheds light on the many wonders of birds. And there are many! Ackerman provides examples of some of the most intelligent birds in the world. My favorite is always Alex the African grey parrot, who was the subject of a 30-year experiment. Alex was a bird wonder. Alex proved that birds were capable of reason and using words creatively. He could count. He distinguished colors. Alex proved that birds could do more than mimic sounds in repetition. Alex was clever and Oh! So sweet! Jennifer Ackerman's book has opened my eyes to the world of birds. Now, as I enjoy watching the birds in my yard, I won't be able to help wondering what's going on in their brilliant minds. And, if someone should call me a birdbrain in the future, well, I might just consider it a compliment.




**Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a DRC for review.






Alex the African grey parrot





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review 2016-04-24 07:36
AFTON VILLA by Genevieve Munson Trimble
Afton Villa: The Birth and Rebirth of a Ninteenth-Century Louisiana Garden (Reading the American Landscape) - Genevieve Munson Trimble

Absolutely stunning! Fascinating history. 


"Just to think, I realized, both this tree and the garden had witnessed a great swath of southern history. They had lived through the Civil War, the harsh era of Reconstruction, the death of the Barrows, who had been laid to rest just yards away from the oak itself in the family cemetery. Through the subsequent years, the oak and the garden had endured the days of the Depression, oftentimes neglect, the coming and going of different owners, the impacts of seasonal weather, and, finally, fire itself that demolished completely the great house, reducing it to a pile of ruins, the seeming end of Afton Villa. 

But through it all, the old oak and it's surrounding gardens still stood - a symbol of endurance and a triumph of nature to overcome all disasters that would befall. Wasn't this, I thought with sudden clarity, exactly what had drawn Bud and me here in the first place? It was Afton Villa's miraculous ability to have risen, phoenix like, out of the ashes of tragedy. " - Genevieve Munson Trimble 





The Victorian Gothic plantation, Afton Villa, before fire destroyed the great house in 1963.




Genevieve Munson Trimble, author and owner of Afton Villa Gardens. 

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review 2016-03-03 10:08
Brambleheart by Henry Cole
Brambleheart: A Story About Finding Treasure and the Unexpected Magic of Friendship - Henry Cole,Henry Cole

Welcome to the Hill, home to Twig the chipmunk and his furry friends. Trouble always seems to find Twig and today is no different than any other day. Failing in metal class, Twig is ordered to leave the classroom. Embarrassed and tired of being laughed at, the little chipmunk ponders his future. Unlike his BFF Lily, it's unlikely that Twig will be named a Master Metal Crafter. Twig isn't good at anything and he isn't sure what he wants to do. His favorite past time is reading and he spends most of his time with his beloved books, dreaming of adventure beyond the Hill. But, after stumbling across a magnificent egg in the forest, Twig's luck is about to change. Suddenly on top, Twig must decide who to trust and finds a friend in an unlikely creature. 


A story of magic and friendship, reader's of all ages will fall in love with all the creatures that inhabit the Hill. Middle school children will easily identify with Twig's classroom antics and his daily struggles with teachers and classmates. An imaginative tale filled with wonderful characters and beautiful illustrations. The story was open ended, leaving me to believe that Cole intends to visit this magical forest dwelling once again. If so, I'd gladly welcome Twig back. 


Henry Cole has illustrated many children's books, including his very own Jack's Garden, A Nest for Celeste, and On Meadowview Street. Visit Henry online at www.henrycole.net. 




* * I received an ARC courtesy of a Goodreads giveaway sponsored by Henry Cole. 






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photo 2016-02-04 02:32
Arrived on my birthday!!
Brambleheart: A Story About Finding Treasure and the Unexpected Magic of Friendship - Henry Cole,Henry Cole

Received this gorgeous ARC on my birthday. The illustrations are absolutely stunning. One I will treasure. 



Many, many thanks to Henry Cole!

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review 2015-12-02 21:01
OWLS by Matt Sewell
Owls: Our Most Charming Bird - Matt Sewell

I LOVE owls!! Quite obsessed with the little winged creatures. When I saw this book offered on Blogging for Books I couldn't believe my good fortune. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to snag a beautiful copy. Not disappointed either. It's such an adorable book for all ages. Artist Matt Sewell does an amazing job of bringing each owl species alive in vibrant watercolors. From Woodland Owls, Tropical Owls, Wilderness Owls to Desert Owls, who knew there were so many different varieties?! This charming book covers all four categories of owl and each category has individual pictures of the different owls, each with a short description. You'll get to know forty-seven magnificent, cunning birds of prey. If you love owls as much as I do, you will treasure this stunning little book of owls of every kind. 


Matt Sewell is an ornithologist, regular contributor to the Caught by the River website, and the author of several other illustrated bird books. His work has been exhibited in London, New York, Tokyo, and Paris. 




*Thanks to Blogging for Books for sending me this lovely ARC. Opinions are my own. 




Jamaican Owl - Pseudoscops grammicus (found only on the beautiful island of Jamaica in the West Indies.)



Fearful Owl - Nesasio solomonensis (The X across his countenance strikes fear in prey...and poachers.)



Jungle Owlets - Glaucidium radiatum (a toy-sized owl that can fit on your bookshelves. Isn't he scrumptiously cute?!)



Pel's Fishing Owl - Scotopelia peli  (Proud of her looks and flares her fine head feathers when the mood strikes.)



Want to keep track of the owls you spot? (Sorry for the blurries. Samsung tablet doesn't take the best pics. The book is not blurry so buy it and enjoy perfectly artistic pics.)


Just a few sample pages. Had to share. The book is a fun size, too. Easy for a child to hold at about 5 x 7. 




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