“ Paperback: 160 pages / Publisher: National Geographic Society / Published: 25 Sep 2012 „
My son had been asking for this book since we first saw it advertised on Amazon. At the time it was on preorder only with quite a lengthy wait until the release date, so ended up with Angry birds Space, which I wasn't very happy with. So I was very hesitant to buy this one, but we would see the cover from time to looking up other Angry Birds items and my boys were fascinated by the picture on the front - so yes once again we chose a book by it's cover. Even I have to admit it is quite nice. This would make a very nice poster. I wasn't expecting too much from this book - but I was very pleasnatly surprised.
My sons love the Angry Birds games, and like most children like wildlife, but they also have a wicked sense of humour. This books satisfies all three interests. It is primarily a nature book, with National Geographic's usual high quality photography and well researched text. This has page after page of real life birds getting very angry, with very comical results. Small pictures of the angry birds appear throughout, but the main focus is real life birds. This is broken up though with some lovely full page photos of various Angry Birds, as well as a brief description, and a paragraph on what makes each bird angry. I feel this is enough to keep most Angry Birds fans interested, even if they are not especially interested in real life birds.
While children are having a laugh at avian misbehaviour and enjoying learning about their favourite Angry Birds, they are also learning quite a lot about real birds, from scientific names, to identification, habitat and behaviour. This is the perfect book for a young ornithologist - or it may spark an interest in child whose only previous interest in birds was of the cartoon type. I also feel that this would be a perfect gift for an adult bird watcher. this has in fact encouraged my sons to take more of interest in real life birds and we will see about setting some type of fast balls to attract a few garden birds over the winter, and buy some type of local identification guide to try to identify birds in the spring.
My sons are ages 4 and 7. They especially liked the picture of a pelican biting a man's butt, and ostrich chasing a man, and a bird that uses barf bombs, or vomit to defend itself. Another bird uses poop bombs which is certain to delight the younger reader. They also found pictures of a cardinal fighting it's own reflection very funny, as well as all the pictures of birds with their feathers ruffled and very angry expressions. The comic captions added entertainment to some photos, but do not appear in every photo. This is just well - some authors can try to hard to be funny and it can come off quite flat. Not every photo has a caption - but every one that does is good. They also loved the stories of avian theft. Children do love to read about other children or creatures misbehaving and this book has plenty of bad bird behaviour.
On the downside - I would not give this to a child with any fear of birds. There are a number of photos birds attacking people and the text does describe serious injury to people - such as man losing an eye to an owl. This could be just the thing to give an already frightened child a full scale phobia. There are some photos that may upset children as well. My sons felt sorry for a badly emaciated cat being chased by birds and were a bit concerned by the picture of a mouse impaled on sharp spikes by a Northern Shrike. Thankfully, the text did say the bird kills its prey before impaling it, which calmed the children ( they accept animals eat other animals but don't really like suffering). There is another page though where Crested Bellbirds paralyze poisonous caterpillars as a bizarre form of guarding the nest, and my youngest wasn't thrilled with the idea that the caterpillars are still alive and suffering. There are also descriptions of parasitic birds killing off the other young birds in the nest one of which is quite graphic. For the most part this is a very lighthearted and highly entertaining look at birds, but there are some children who could be upset so parental discretion is advised.
I would also note that the text of this book is in a small, stylised font, printed over coloured and patterned paper. There is a very light print of angry birds on a coloured background and I feel this is slightly distracting to the average reader, but will make this book especially difficult to read for any child suffering from dyslexia. Of course the parents could always read to the child, a wonderful way to keep a child struggling with the mechanics of reading interested in and enjoying books.
I don't normally comment on the binding of books - but I will point out that this is put together more like a magazine than a book. It is just like a copy of National Geographic Magazine, except that it is not as tall and has more pages. This isn't really an issue for us as my children have grwon up with a very large collection of books - some out of print and very difficult to come by and are very careful with books, but this would not take a lot of rough handling.
Overall, I feel this is an outstanding book for children, and very good for adults as well. It's highly visual nature will captivate the most reluctant reader and it is highly entertaining to read. the humour and information on the children's favourite characters keeps the book interesting, while at the same time this is highly educational. I would highly recommend this for bird lovers young and old, as well as fans of the Angry Bird's game.