Thunder Birds: Nature’s Flying Predators by Jim Arnosky (Sterling, 2011) is simply a masterpiece of a picture book for the older child. With gorgeous fold-out illustrations done in acrylic paints, pencil, and chalk, Arnosky brings to life the majestic predatory birds of America, from Bald Eagles and vultures to pelicans and herons.
His text also does justice to the majestic animals. Although the book may be rather text-heavy for many young readers, for the older picture book crowd he manages to impart a passion for the animals based on his personal observations in nature, as well as an informed voice that gives him authority.
The last pages provide a further reading list, as well as a list of natural parks in the United States where young naturalists may be able to observe these birds for themselves. I personally loved pouring over the details and true-to-life illustrations in Arnosky’s picture book.