Maybe birding results from having a “collection gene.” (At least a bird collection—aka a “life list”—doesn’t take up any space on a shelf, and as a bonus, it never needs dusting.) I don’t just collect birds, I seem to also accumulate books. Like many birders I have a shelf full of delightful books, each chronicling the nature experiences of an author. From a Victorian lady’s garden journal to the a thin volume exploring the seasons of the north woods, I can immerse myself in the great outdoors from the comfort of my favorite chair.
I have to admit, however, that many of these books work equally well as sleeping pills. Reading detailed descriptions of the weeds on someone’s farm just doesn’t generate the page-turning anticipation of a good adventure story.
When I heard that Julie Zickefoose had published a book about birds, I was rather ho-hum about the whole deal. Another nature book? Yawn. But after the fifth person in as many days waxed eloquent about The Bluebird Effect and strongly encouraged me to read it, I began to think there might be more to this particular story.
I had no idea.
Who knew you could write an exciting nature book? I actually stayed up late reading chapter after chapter. What would happen to the male bluebird? You mean there’s something good about starlings? Could the Rose-breasted Grosbeak nestling be nursed back to health? In a series of beautifully written stories, Zickefoose draws us in, opens our eyes, and leaves us wanting more.
Then there are her illustrations. Zickefoose is already highly regarded for her incredible sketches and watercolor paintings. She lavishes her work on this book; the reader is treated to a new illustration every time you turn a page. I’d recommend this book for the illustrations alone.
If you enjoy books about nature, you will absolutely love this book. Even if nature isn’t your favorite genre, you will love this book. Anyone who enjoys birds, anyone who sees beauty in God’s creation, anyone who appreciates fine artwork, or even a well-written phrase—this book is for you. I guarantee you’ll take as much pleasure in reading it as I did.