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A Sparrow's Life's As Sweet As Ours (cover)

Publisher: Bloomsbury, London

Publication Year: 2019

Binding: Hardback

Page Count: 144

ISBN Number: 9781472967145

Price: £ 20.00

A Sparrow's Life's as Sweet as Ours: in Praise of Birds and Seasons

This book is a pleasure to read and to look at. The beautiful screenprint illustrations by Carry Akroyd match perfectly John McEwen’s informative and entertaining one-page accounts. A collection of the authors’ pieces for the Bird of the Month column in The Oldie, this book covers 66 species, from passerines to seabirds, from common to rarer ones, divided between the four seasons.

This is a perfectly-balanced book where the text and illustrations are not there as a mere addition to one another, but they work in synchrony. John McEwen’s accounts are a wonderful blend of scientific information and interesting, and often less-known, captivating cultural facts, from the etymology of the names to pieces of history involving the species, all interspersed with short poetry from well-known authors. The illustrations are each a real piece of art that one would be tempted to frame and put on the wall, if they didn’t already fit so beautifully alongside the text. Carry Akroyd’s ability to use elegant lines and colours that capture the species’ essence in relation to its habitat creates a treat for the eyes.

This book would be equally suited to bird-watchers who appreciate the scientific and artistic value of birds, as well as to non-birders, who will be transported into the fascinating world of ornithology through the accessible but informative text and the superb artwork.

Book reviewed by Daria Dadam

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