Today is a special day. Not only is it the first Day of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count and the last day of our week celebrating children's books about birds for the Year of the Bird, but we have a real treat: a visit by author Anna Levine with her new picture book about bird migration and some bird-themed activities!
All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine and illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto
In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it's time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel's Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?
Be sure to visit our sister blog Wrapped in Foil for a more in-depth review and links to upcoming stops on the blog tour.
All Eyes on Alexandra is a fictional account of a real event, the twice annual migration of millions over birds to and from all the neighboring continents.
The following video shows footage from a proposed documentary about the migration, set to music. What a sight!
Imagine trying to count birds there. What a challenge it would be! On the other hand, it would be easy to fill your Big Year lists with new species.
Anna Levine is an award-winning children’s book author. Like Alexandra Crane, the character in her latest picture book, she loves to explore new worlds. Born in Canada, Anna has lived in the US and Europe. She now lives in Israel, where she writes and teaches.
You don’t have to wing it! Three bird-themed activities by Anna Levine.
Honk! Bellow! Whoop! Take part in the action.
When Alexandra Crane and her flock arrive at the resting and refueling spot in the Hula Valley they meet storks, falcons, wagtails and pelican and other bird families that honk, bellow and whoop. Now you can join the commotion, just by stepping out into your own backyard.
1. Take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count on February 16-19th. You don’t have to be an expert to join. Step outside for as long as 15 minutes or less and count as many birds as you can.
2. Awaken your senses. Experience birds through sound. Have your child listen and try to note the sounds of different birds. Record the bird song and then see if you can identify which birds they are. The Cornell Lab has a wonderful site (All About Birds Academy) where you can learn about birds and their different calls.
3. Bird beak experiment. Why do some birds have beaks that are long and sharp while others are shaped like a straw? You should have most of these tools around the house for this experiment, scissors, tweezers, chopsticks, a straw, and pliers. Gather the following foods, juice, string cheese, gummy snakes, rice, and pistachios. The idea is to try and match up the best tool for eating the different foods.
You might find that:
- A hummingbird’s straw-like beak is perfect for drinking juice (or nectar from a flower).
- The eagle’s scissor-like beak can rip up string cheese like an eagle tears meat.
- A robin’s beak is perfect for digging out worms from the ground, as precise as picking up gummi worms with chopsticks.
- A woodpecker’s beak is as sharp as a chisel and used also like a crowbar to pick out insects from dead trees, just like tweezers picking up a grain of rice.
- And for opening seeds, a cardinal’s beak, just like pliers, is great for cracking open pistachios or seeds.
What about the beak of a curved-bill thrasher?
You can see even more fun ideas from Anna Levine to celebrate birds at Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee. blog.
Thank you to Anna Levine for stopping by and sharing the wonderful book and activities.
You can find Anna Levine online at --
Age Range: 3 - 8 years
Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub (August 1, 2018)
Don't forget our growing list of books about bird migration at Science Books for Kids.
Disclosure: This book was provided electronically for review. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Thank you for visiting us this week. That concludes our celebration of The Year of the Bird.