Saturday, June 4, 2022

Review: Let's Meet Ben! by Arabelle Zhang

 Today's read heads into the non-fiction direction and is great for nature and bird fans. One of my favorite things about living in the Ozarks is the wealth on birds. We see everything hummingbirds, cardinals, bluebirds, barn sparrows, turkey vultures, owls, hawks, bald eagles, woodpeckers, egrets...well, I could go on and on. But today, we're looking at flycatchers, and this book should teach a little about them.

Ready to fly around and take a peek? 

From the Flycatcher Family
by Arabelle Zhang
Little Milestones Press
Picture Book
ages 4 to 7

Let’s Meet Ben! introduces a popular flycatcher who lives within and outside the forests of the American continent. This is a colorfully illustrated story created with younger children in mind, and uses fun, easy language to describe simple bird facts that will make reading this book a joy and spark your child’s innate curiosity about nature!

GOODREADS   /   B&N    /    AMAZON


This read is about flycatchers and takes a peek at basic information surrounding these birds.

At around 30 pages, each page centers on a flycatcher as it flies through various landscapes it calls home. The text is concise but takes a story-tale like flow as we learn about the flycatchers habitat, habits, diet, and 'family'. The first part of the book allows the listener/reader to sink into the scenes first, while the factual information really sets in more toward the end.

Each page holds a colorful illustration, which lets nature stand bright and bold. The flycatcher is presented in a simplistic manner and often as an addition to the world around it, letting the reader get an impression of how the flycatcher compares to the world around it. I would have appreciated more details to the flycatcher's images, since this book is intended to teach about them, but it still works for the younger end of the reader end (ages 2 to 5). 

While the first pages set the scenes, landscape and habitat, the second half adds more facts, numbers and comparisons. Slightly older readers (4 to 6) will deal better with this end and will take some new facts with them. Everything is understandable and clearly laid out, making it a nice addition to a theme on flycatchers in a group setting (or individually) as well.

Effort is made especially to show the parental relationship with the younger offspring, and how the young ones are watched after and cared for. This adds a nice, warm touch, which will help listeners/readers connect with the flycatchers and get a sense of security, too. 

I'd recommend this one for a slightly younger audience (ages 2 to 6) than it's promoted for, and do think its a great way to increase knowledge and appreciation for flycatchers. Bird lovers, homeschoolers, classrooms, play groups, and others can make good use of this one.

And here she is...

Arabelle Zhang is a full-time mom and a quiet researcher who loves to draw and paint as a way to express her appreciation and curiosity for nature; that is, when she’s not hiking in the wilderness. Although she doesn’t live on a farm, Arabelle has cared for quite a list of small animals that have been part of her daily life since early childhood. Her drawings of the parrots, pigeons, chickens, turtles, rabbits, and hamsters in her life led to her lifelong hobby. She is the author and illustrator behind Let’s Meet Ben! her first children’s book

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