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Balance the Birds

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A follow-up to Stack the Cats, Balance the Birds is a charming book about balance and relative size. When birds spot a tree and decide to land on its branches, it’s up to the readers to help them find the perfect balance. The concepts of greater than versus less than and heavy versus light are key early math skills for toddlers, making Balance the Birds an important concept book with a hilarious and charming twist.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published October 2, 2018

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About the author

Susie Ghahremani

24 books191 followers
Susie Ghahremani is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Susie independently designs a whimsically illustrated stationery and gift brand titled Boygirlparty®, one of Etsy's most popular shops.

Her debut as author-illustrator -- STACK THE CATS -- was named Best Book of the Year by both Kirkus and Amazon! A Kirkus starred review declared it "a book that can expand children's thought processes." ALA Booklist says her new book is -- BALANCE THE BIRDS -- "a sophisticated mathematical concept... made easily and enjoyably understandable."

Her illustrations have been commissioned by the New York Times, Target, Bank of America, and Martha Stewart, to name a few. She is the illustrator of the highly acclaimed nature book series I LOVE DIRT and picture books WHAT WILL HATCH and WHAT WILL GROW, written by Jennifer Ward, celebrated with starred reviews from the School Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly.

She has received art awards from the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, American Illustration, the Alternative Pick, Giant Robot, and was selected as a featured artist and mentorship award winner at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Originally from Chicago, Susie lives in San Diego, California with her husband and zillions of pets. Visit her online at boygirlparty.com

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5 stars
54 (17%)
4 stars
112 (36%)
3 stars
115 (37%)
2 stars
28 (9%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for susie.
Author 24 books191 followers
October 2, 2018
Today is the day! Balance the Birds is finally out!

* true story: i worked on over 40 dummies of this book. that's over 1000 sketches.
* also a true story: i broke the first rule of picture books, which is "don't put anything in the gutter" -- in this book, the tree is a scale, and it tips to either side of the gutter.
* also a true story: this book's aesthetic is inspired by my finches! pictured here is xander. i've had him for 13 years and won him in a raffle (?!)

thanks for giving my book a chance. i hope you love it!

Profile Image for Amanda.
3,654 reviews30 followers
October 15, 2018
Finding balance in life is a tricky thing; trying to figure out where and how you fit in can seem to take forever. Maybe that's why I liked this one even better than Stack the Cats. The birds and the rambunctious squirrel won me over immediately; their faces were so soulful. Beautiful book.
Profile Image for Becky.
5,206 reviews103 followers
December 27, 2018
First sentence: Here come the birds! Half on the left side, and half on the right. This is how the birds balance!

Premise/plot: Susie Ghahremani is the author of Stack the Cats which I reviewed last year. Like Stack the Cats, Balance the Birds is a math-related concept book for young readers. The concept being taught is weight, size, and logic.

My thoughts: I liked Stack the Cats well enough. It may be about math, but it was also about cats.

I didn't dislike Balance the Birds. I think that's important to point out. I just didn't love it.

The illustrations are super-bold and colorful. Perhaps a little too colorful for my poor eyes. I think I would have liked this one a little more if the background(s) were different. If they were a shade of sky--white, gray, blue--for example. Instead of sky, we have bright red, bright yellow, light turquoise, dark turquoise.

I did like how the tree is a scale--readers can tell if the birds are balanced by paying attention to the tree.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10
Profile Image for Elisabeth.
1,850 reviews24 followers
January 7, 2019
wish the illustrations more clearly demonstrated the concept of balance. Too small and too busy.
Profile Image for Rebecca Ann.
2,739 reviews
October 14, 2018
I really dig this art, and fans of stack the cats will recognize the branding immediately. Even better is the cute and easy way the book teaches math (weight and logic) as the cover tells you. I'm so pumped to read this for a visiting kindergarten class and do a balancing activity. Each page has a different bird combo and challenges the reader to talk about if it is "balanced" or not. I think this could be a really cool interactive felt story as well.
Profile Image for Meg.
1,614 reviews
October 26, 2018
MUST USE FOR STORYTIME FLANNELBOARD, illustrations are very reminiscent of this author's other works... which I love. Could cut and frame pages for nursery decorations, and they would match the other works. Five stars because this book balances amazing art with awesome logic-building skills for littles.
8 reviews1 follower
September 3, 2019
We love this book! Such a hit with my 3 year old. The animals are adorable which keeps her interested, and the story gives some foundation in beginning physics as the heavier bird needs lots of lighter birds to balance the tree.
Profile Image for Lilly.
418 reviews141 followers
October 2, 2018
Beautiful, lively and engaging! Even my 3 month old is fascinated by this birds and their antics!
Profile Image for Barbara.
13.1k reviews271 followers
October 13, 2018
Written and illustrated by the same author-illustrator as Stack the Cats, this concept book introduces some important mathematics tenets to young readers through the use of birds. Youngsters will see the concept of lesser than and greater than, balance and weight and size as demonstrated through a flock of birds, some of the same size but one that is very large. After watching the birds flutter to and fro and contend with the arrival of an enormous bird that throws everything off balance in the tree where one small bird remains, readers are presented with a picture showing several birds in the tree and a problem of balance to solve. The brightly-colored images were created with gouache and then colored digitally, assuring that readers' attention will be held by what they see. This is a good title to share with little ones who may apply the concepts learned here in their daily lives.
Profile Image for Heather.
226 reviews5 followers
January 19, 2019
I'm always excited to find a new preschool STEM picture books. This one didn't quite live up to my hopes. As a group storytime read aloud, I don't think it would fly. The small size of the book and the way the birds blend in with the background on some pages would make it hard to read with a group. However, as a one on one read or putting the ebook on a big screen, I'd use it to pair with a hands on weight STEM project. As a story it's a bit forgettable but it has potential to be a preschool go-to STEM activity choice.
Profile Image for Katie.
1,155 reviews8 followers
February 13, 2019
This is the 2nd Susie Ghahremani book that I've read. And I think I'm officially a fan.
There is some kind of intriguing alchemy about her baby books. Their picture are very clear and vibrant. And the story is always a little strange.
I tried Stack the Cats with my Baby Time and they were slightly baffled. We may have to work up to reading another of Ghahremani's books.

Profile Image for Debra.
2,030 reviews7 followers
August 8, 2019
A brightly colored book for young children. Very few words and great visuals as they watch the birds alight on a tree, have it bend and sway as they need to adjust their weight to stay on the branches. Count the birds as they fly in and find the balance point. What happens as some of the birds fly off? What will happen as a squirrel jumps in and later a much BIGGER bird comes to visit the tree branch.? Cause and effect as well. Lots of fun trying to guess what will happen before you turn the page.
Profile Image for Deuce Naftel.
198 reviews2 followers
February 14, 2019
I checked this book out from the library, hoping to use it with my 3 year old granddaughter. But I had a hard time figuring out where the birds were on the tree several times. I think visually it would have worked better for me if there was more distance with the tree. The tree and birds were so close up, it was hard to grasp the balance.
37 reviews1 follower
March 21, 2019
This is a good book for teaching simple math skills to young children! If I were to do it at storytime again, I'd be sure to have a felt play to go with it or plush birds and some sort of 'tree' so the kids could have an easier time making guesses about how to balance the birds. It was a bit hard for them to understand by illustrations alone. But it was still a fun read!
Profile Image for Angela De Groot.
2,211 reviews5 followers
March 9, 2022
Birds flock to a tree. 4 on one side, and 4 on the other. Nicely balanced. But when some of them fly away, how will those left behind balance things out? And then a BIG bird arrives, and it’s all out of whack until . . .
This is a fun and clever Pb that introduces little readers to weight, size, and logic concepts.
3,758 reviews19 followers
May 15, 2018
I liked this bright and clever book a lot. Great way to introduce the concept of balance and relative size. My only quibble was that I felt the lens was just a tad too close. I found myself wanting to pull back a bit to have more of the tree in view.
Profile Image for Jessie.
1,969 reviews26 followers
October 13, 2018
I didn't love this as much as I did Stack the Cats, but it's still the same kind of bright and playful. It's a little more explicit about the mathematics than Stack the Cats was. It's all about balancing, starting with creatures (birds and a squirrel) of roughly the same size and weight, and then moving on to creatures of various sizes.
Profile Image for Alyssa Gudenburr.
1,814 reviews10 followers
December 4, 2018
This is a great book that demonstrates balancing by numbers and weight. I wish it was bigger! It would be too small to read to a group of children. I loved the illustrations that popped and the simple sentences.
Profile Image for Erica.
815 reviews10 followers
March 8, 2019
Balancing the birds. Too few birds and the tree leans to one side, too many and it leans to the other side. Then balance a bird bird with lots of little birds.

Good for teaching little ones the concepts of balance, size, and weight.
Profile Image for Iggi.
523 reviews3 followers
April 24, 2019
Iggi's Storytime Criteria
Age group: Preschool +
Content: birds, balance
Plot: birds come and go; didn't grab me, honestly
Wordiness: medium
Length: Medium
Illustrations: cute, designerly
Profile Image for Melissa the Librarian.
760 reviews14 followers
September 9, 2020
Honestly I love Ghahremani's books mainly for the illustrations. This is a good book for introducing math concepts, but I haven't had much success with this one or Stack the Cats in actual storytime. Might be better for one-on-one reading.
Profile Image for Mary Norell Hedenstrom.
567 reviews6 followers
August 14, 2018
Nice illustrations and possible algebra/measurement connections but the text could do more to support readers' interaction.
Profile Image for Michele.
75 reviews3 followers
October 18, 2018
Kids weren't very interested in this one. I liked it, though. I'll work it in when we make our mobile craft, see what they think.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews

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