Cover of Bird Watch by Jane Yolen

Bird Watch

Because we are a family of bird watchers, and because I have many opportunities to see my husband David (the original Pa from OWL MOON) interact with birds, children, and other birders, this book of poems came about. Some are celebratory, some are sad, some are observations. One poem (“Calligraphy”) came from an essay David wrote about ducks in spring. Ted Lewin, whose pictures always make me catch my breath in admiration, came up for a visit with his wife before starting the book. He wanted to see some of the places I watched birds. By some awful accident of fate, we were all in the kitchen when a bird crashed into the kitchen window. David and Ted ran outside to the deck and David picked the bird up, but it was too late. The hands holding the dead bird in the book are David’s.


  • ALA Notable book
  • Teachers’ Choice Selection of the Joint Committee of the IRA/Children’s Book Council
  • On the 1992 Kentucky Bluegrass Master List
  • On list for Outstanding Science Trade Books
  • Nominee for the 1992-1993 William Allen White Award
  • Reading Rainbow Selection for September, 1991
  • BCCB Blue Ribbon book for 1990,

Around the web:

What reviewers have said:

  • “Yolen’s startling descriptions almost jump off the page…This is a book that naturalists, artists, and poets, young and old, will enjoy.” –School Library Journal, starred review
  • “Celebrating an activity that is companionable as well as scientific,Yolen presents 17 melodious evocations of particular species.”–Kirkus pointer review
  • “Set against an interesting variety of paintings depicting different species of North American birds, these seventeen poems range from short but elegant comments to longer descriptive works. A beautiful blend of text and illustration, the collection is a lovely accompaniment to Peterson or Audubon for the young bird watcher.” — Horn Book
  • “Image, movement, sound, and ideas seem to blend in words and pictures….A treat.” — Booklist
  • “From its arresting cover of a vee of geese stretching across the “earless / face of the moon” to the songbirds that sit “along the wires / like scattered notes / on lines of music” on the last page, this soaring collection of poems about birds will delight young ornithologists. Though some of the poems deal with subjects beyond the experience of most children, all are carefully wrought and thoughtful. Lewin’s breathtaking watercolors marvelously complement Yolen’s graceful language and gentle humor, and a glossary at the end supplies interesting facts about each species of bird included in the volume. Like Yolen’s winter finches at their feeder, these elegant poems and unforgettable pictures will last “long, long / past the turning of the year.” — Publishers Weekly