Sylvia and the Birds reviewed on the Christchurch library blog


One of the Christchurch librarians, Bronwen Knowles, has reviewed Sylvia and the Birds: How The Bird Lady saved thousands of birds and how you can, too by Johanna Emeney and Sarah Laing on the Christchurch library blog. She says:

‘When I was a kid, my Granny B sometimes sent me kids' magazines and annuals which I absolutely loved. When I opened Sylvia and the Birds by Jo Emeney and Sarah Laing, it reminded me instantly of the those treasures from my childhood. It's full of comics (as I would have called them), activities and photographs just like the annuals and mags I used to pore over for hours! I know I would have absolutely loved this book if it had existed when I was a kid!

Unlike my treasured annuals and mags, though, Sylvia and the Birds is not about princesses or Morph (does anyone remember him?). This is like an annual with heart! It's the story of Sylvia Durrant who ran a bird rescue centre from her home on Auckland's North Shore for 35 years, and was known as The Bird Lady.

We are introduced to Sylvia by a couple of cheeky kererū who tell her story through a series of graphic novel vignettes. Sylvia's own photographs from her childhood as a ward of the state in the 30s and 40s add a richness to the story, as do the beautiful artworks and photographs of native birds. Sprinkled through the book are activity pages like bird-spotting (can you tell a thrush from a starling?), facts about predators (did you know that New Zealand has more hedgehogs than the UK, and, cute as they are, they are a threat to native birds?) and things you can do to help look after birds (don't feed your bread to the ducks!)’

Read the full review here.