Today's book steps back from the busy life of computers, cell phones, and video games, and takes readers into nature. This one even goes a bit further, heading to South America. There, it introduces a lesser known bird and teaches a few things about it...and all of that while telling the story of a boy. But I'd be lying if I claimed this was the only reason this one grabbed my attention. Honestly, I found the bird fascinating...so pretty and majestic that I had to share this one with you.
Tales From the Yungas
by Nadia Khan
ages 4 to 8
It’s a jungle out there, tucked away in the foothills of the Andes. One of South America’s largest terrestrial birds has jumped onto the roof of a house! It’s a curious behavior as we truly don’t know why he does this. We can come up with many scenarios. Why do you think the chuña does this? Let’s look at animals in their natural habitat and take pleasure in the wonder, mystery, and fascination of nature in its pure form.The Chuña is a picture book showing the observation of a bird by a young boy. The reader will be engaged by watching the story unfold while simultaneously learning about the bird and its behavior. There is a playful calmness transmitted through the book accompanied by illustrations that use “soft” colors. The author aspires to spark an interest in children and their parents to go observe and connect with nature. We are indeed part of nature and the more we remind ourselves of this the more we will care for it.
Listeners are not only transported to a boy in South America but discover an interesting bird (and fun adventure) along the way.
A young boy is in his bedroom, when he hears a strange noise on the roof. Suddenly, a bird pokes its head toward the window. The boy finds the behavior strange and heads outside to investigate. But the more he watches the bird, the more curious he becomes as to what it's doing. By watching it, he learns not only more about the bird but discovers a little more about the nature around him.
The bird on the front cover caught my attention, and it's this bird which remains at the center of this book. Not only is the listener/reader taken to a home in South America, but they are introduced to a boy, who isn't really much different than they are themselves. His curiosity is understandable as this strange bird not only makes odd noises but does the silliest things. His reactions are natural, and it's hard not to wish that one could accompany him as he learns more about this bird.
While the listener/reader learns more about this creature, there are other great messages in these pages. The idea that heading outside might lead to an unexpected adventure inspires listeners to do the same. It also shows that while some things are obvious, there are many other things to discover, which require a little time and patience. And these might be the most special of all.
The illustrations of the bird and nature are well done and radiate a sense of calmness thanks to the pastel coloring and gentle lines. The boy and his sister didn't come across quite as well, but it still was easy to enjoy the scenes and deepen the understanding of what was happening. It makes a great read aloud for group settings and does help introduce themes surrounding nature nicely.
And here she is...
Nadia Khan, is a writer, and multi-disciplinary artist. She is passionate about writing books that portray animals in their natural habitat, and encouraging children through these stories to explore and observe nature. She has co-founded Villa Monte Reserve, a private nature reserve in the northwest region of Argentina that contributes to the conservation of the native forest. Her books raise awareness about the area and its wildlife, which is pivotal in conservation work. The Chuña is the first of the companion book series, Tales From the Yungas. Part of the proceeds go to the conservation of the native forest in Argentina.