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Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  427 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Since 2031, Aviary Wonders Inc. has offered bird lovers a unique opportunity: Assemble your own bird from stunningly beautiful and carefully hand-crafted parts. The birds can even be taught to fly and to sing! This slyly satirical crafter's delight is offered as the perfect antidote to extinction of birds in the wild.

Brilliantly illustrated with oil paintings and filled wi
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Clarion Books
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Marjorie Ingall
It's as if Terry Gilliam's Brazil and The Vermont Country Store had a baby!

This is a weird and gorgeous oversized picture book for older kids and adults. Aviary Wonders Inc. is a venerable catalog that has let you, the customer, build your own bird since 2031! (What with actual birds of course being extinct or nearly so.) It's a subtle warning about environment irresponsibility and a mockery of consumerism, with ravishing illustrations. Funny, creepy and sad. The author thanks David Wiesner (of
Mar 23, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, picture, 2014
What a cool book, though the premise is one that's a bit disturbing. Even though birds are extinct, Aviary Wonders Inc has been supplying birds since 2031. Simply select your bird parts -- feathers, body, beaks, tails, and so forth -- and then assemble the parts at home. The book includes instructions for teaching a bird to fly and sing as well as trouble-shooting tips. The final page of the book includes an order form.

What a clever and interesting idea. This is a book that may not have wide ap
Pair this edgy environmental satire with nonfiction about endangered species and give them to middle school and upper elementary readers who think they are too sophisticated for picture books. In 2031, Aviary Wonders, Inc. has the solution to endangered and extinct birds. Build your own imitation using their made-to-order kit. The legs are clockwork, but the base "bird" arrives alive - wing-less, tail-less, beak-less, and ready for feeding, assembly, training, and troubleshooting. Gorgeous illus ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Phoebe rated it it was ok
Samworth's book is unusual and memorable, but I don't know how kid-friendly it is, with its satirical message and ironic tone. The idea of building your own bird may appeal to young readers, especially when they understand the premise of the book, that due to environmental hazards, exotic pet trade, and CATS, there are no longer any live birds. Meticulously illustrated, the book is a thing of beauty. I did find slightly creepy the pictures of bird parts, especially the pages of birds without bea ...more
Elizabeth A
Dec 19, 2014 Elizabeth A rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, 2014
Birds have been extinct since 2031, but fear not, Aviary Wonders Inc. can fulfill your aviary needs. This is their 32 page Spring Catalog, in which you can browse through bird parts - feathers, beaks, legs, etc - and make your very own custom bird. The catalog includes instructions for feeding and care of the new arrival, home assembly, teaching your bird to fly and sing, and an important trouble shooting guide. Sold? There is an order form at the end you can use to get one of your very own.

Carrie Gelson
This book is swoon worthy! And seriously odd at the same time. I loved it!
The delight and hilarity in creating quite preposterous birds is tempered by the underlying feeling the reader has throughout: What if such a catalog was actually real? Necessary?
My advice? Find this book and savour its creative energy. Think about how to have fun with this is in the classroom. I'm thinking art projects, some of our own question and answer writing . . . And then? Head outside. Watch for birds. Celebrate t
Ms. Yingling
Apr 05, 2014 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
I wasn't quite sure how to categorize this book, but finally decided that it is fantasy nonfiction. That is, a nonfiction, informational book on an imaginary subject! Based on the premise that most of the birds in the world are extinct by 2031, this book pretends to be a catalog of bird parts for sale that can then be assembled into an actual bird. The pages almost count as information about different types of birds-- the different beaks, feet, feathers and other features are described a bit. Th ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Holly rated it really liked it
This a strange but intriguing book that makes an environmental point about what might happen if we allow birds to go extinct. The illustrations manage to be beautiful and disturbing at the same time. I look forward to more by this new author/illustrator.
In 2031, most birds have disappeared. But never fear! You can order an assemble your own using this lushly illustrated, slightly disturbing catalog. The many facts about real and extinct birds are seamlessly woven in, though only older elementary and middle school kids will understand the environmental message here. Amazing artwork in the vein of Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time.
I picked this up because it won the first Kirkus prize for young people's literature. It a super fun sort-of picture book that is a catalog and assembly manual for some very strange birds. Samworth's lettering is beautiful and the birds are so fun and silly. I'm not really sure what age group this would be best for, because it doesn't really read like a picture book. It's kind of like a kid non-fiction book, except that it's pretty goofy and definitely fiction. Maybe I'll just jump in and pitch ...more
Jan 09, 2015 Paula rated it really liked it
Could this be the wave of the future: mail-order catalogs for re-creating extinct species? This cautionary, futuristic tale in a unique format shows readers how they can order bird components for making their very own birds. Once they have selected a basic body, they can customize their creations by choosing from an assortment of beaks, tails, wings…you get the idea. The text offers advice on choosing complementary elements and adornments for special occasions. The catalog, purportedly founded i ...more
Sandy Brehl
This is a powerful and unique approach to the science of nature study, birds specifically. The subtitle indicates it's premise: RENEWING THE WORLD'S BIRD SUPPLY SINCE 2031. It is clearly futuristic/fantasy, and yet is anchored in a straightforward approach as a "how-to" book offering do-it-yourselfers an opportunity to try their hands at designing/creating new species of birds using the physical and behavioral patterns of those species long since gone. The scientific detail in illustration as we ...more
Dec 09, 2014 Annette rated it it was amazing
AVIARY WONDERS INC.: SPRING CATALOG AND INSTRUCTION MANUAL by Kate Samworth is a cleverly conceived and beautifully illustrated picture book you may have missed when it came out earlier in the year.

Set in a future where living birds no longer exist, readers of this fictional catalog can order parts and assemble their own birds. All of the birds in the book are actual species and many are identified as endangered or extinct.

It’s dark, but humorous approach isn’t intended for young children. Ins
The narrator of this story first developed his passion for birds and bird watching while working at his family's logging business (the irony is intentional.) He is no longer logging; he now runs a company that builds birds. After searching out the best engineers, biologists and artists to work for him, he launched the company in 2031 and they have struggled to keep up with demand ever since. The company creates the finest of birds, better in many ways than the extinct species that they were desi ...more
Jul 28, 2014 Nicole rated it really liked it
Aviary Wonders Inc. by Kate Samworth
Clarion Books, 2014
32 pages
Recommended for grades 2+

I first came across this on another blogger's Monday post. Immediately I was drawn to the beautiful cover art, and being a bird lover I just typed in the title and requested the book through the library.
Well...I blindly opened this one up only to be terrified!! Ugh, what a sad dose of reality covered in layers of beauty and fantasy.
Just in case you are like I was, totally unaware of this book's premise
"Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual" is a very odd picture book. It is essentially as it says on the cover: a catalog and instruction manual. The book is "selling" bird parts to create your very own bird, and there is various instructions along the way for assembling it so it looks natural and not silly, and information about birds that are now extinct.

It's a cute book, and I can imagine a lot of kids who would enjoy the thought of creating their own bird. In some ways, it
What a clever book! There are a lot of different ways to talk about animals going extinct but I've never seen anything like this book. The book seems to be a catalog that allows the reader to design his/her own bird by choosing the appropriate parts (torso, legs, beak, wings, and tail) from those available. The book also sneaks in information about different birds that have gone extinct over the last few centuries because of human choices. It's also clear that the author/illustrator had a lot of ...more
Apr 18, 2014 Donalyn rated it really liked it
Birds are extinct, but don't despair. Since 2031, customers have been able to buy customized birds from Aviary Wonders, Inc. This is a strange book. Looking at birds without beaks in a "catalog" creeped me out and the "instructions" for assembling your new bird unsettled me. I think that's the point, though. I'm interested in what my students make of it.

The layout and design are well-done.
Laura Harrison
Jan 03, 2015 Laura Harrison rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, imaginative art work.
Nov 20, 2013 Kara rated it it was amazing

A mix of science fiction and science geared towards an elementary school level audience. The premise of a company in the future where you can custom order your very own pet bird to assemble yourself is a wonderful springboard into a lesson on the different types of birds and how their different types of wings, beaks, etc., work.
Dec 28, 2015 Sasha rated it really liked it
Absolutely gorgeous illustrations of bird parts with some creepy-ass instructions on how to assemble them. I was feeling gross for the rest of the day about us as humans. Is this how adults felt after reading The Lorax for the first time?
Mar 20, 2015 Colette rated it it was amazing
Several weeks ago when it was bitter cold out, I was getting into my car to run an errand. I didn't leave for at least 5 minutes because sitting in the driveway across our small street was a bright red Cardinal. I so miss the mountains, oceans and natural lakes in other states, so when I see something so beautiful as a Cardinal, flower, or big puffy cloud, I just take it all in. I cannot imagine building a bird. This book makes me contemplate ever more about what our society is doing to our big ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Raina rated it liked it
Quirky little book. Didn't keep me riveted to every word, but the pictures are pretty. Some of the captions felt like they might be aimed at the contemporary reader, instead of the future reader of the conceit, so it didn't feel totally consistent. But that could just be how I read them. Neat idea.
Sep 27, 2014 Lynn rated it really liked it
Highly original presentation, intricately illustrated - entertaining.
Bird lovers will pour over this, but it may be limited as a read aloud.
The blurred line between fact an fiction may send a youngster to the non-fiction section, or just may entertain. I was a little confused by the 'Order Form' and even after studying it, still not sure how to select the desired body parts. Implying that cats are part of the reasons some species are disappearing ignores the food chain.
I wonder why the author ch
Aug 15, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
Have all of the birds gone extinct? Not to worry, now you can build your own bird with the "Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction manual. This is a funny but disturbing look at a world where there are no longer any birds.
Liza Wiemer
A mix and match for children of bird parts to construct their own birds. Bodies, feathers, wings, feet, beaks, tails, legs, collars, flight patterns, crests, wattle and comb. Then assembly instructions. Except kids actually can't do it, unless they trace the parts. But then again, it's not supposed to be taken seriously because these are illustrations and not "real." I do wonder if kids would take it seriously and would want to be able to actually mix and match. If so, I wish there were a webpag ...more
Teresa Edmunds
Feb 03, 2015 Teresa Edmunds rated it it was amazing
For the last few winters, I have been involved in the Utah Bird Count with a dear friend. I'm a novice; she's an expert. There is something exhilarating about being in the snow, counting thousands of birds of various, wondrous species. Birds are comical, fascinating, essential to nature, and must be protected. That is what "Aviary Wonders" addresses, in a creative, slightly dark way. The first thing to catch my attention was the artwork. It's phenomenal! The next to draw me in however, was the c ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, 2015
This is a beautiful book, built on the premise that many (all?) birds are extinct in the future and people now build their own. Designed like a catalog, it's a compilation of bird parts that crafters use to build their birds. It also cleverly provides information on how each bird became extinct, so it's a sort of advocacy title, too. I spent most of the book vacillating between awe and nausea. Perhaps my imagination is too vivid or the illustrations that exceptional, but I could see a formless, ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Kelly rated it liked it
As a book geared toward children, I feel the concept and images might be very confusing for younger ages. I would probably recommend it for ages 8 and up. The illustrations are really beautiful with incredible colors. I checked this out of the library because I have a strong interest in birds and always appreciate a beautifully illustrated picture book. I'm glad I read it but I didn't feel compelled to show my kids (who are 18, 16 and 12 but all still appreciate a great children's book when we f ...more
Aug 06, 2014 Libby rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a fiction book is so descriptive that it seems so REAL. That is how my daughter experienced this book. In the end I had to work to convince her that it is not actually possible to build a bird. "But they have an order form!" she insisted. I am so excited that we were able to learn about flight patterns based on wing shapes, the eating habits of birds based on beak shapes, and many more details while so actively engaging our imaginations. The book is outstanding because it offers us the ...more
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