Have the ever felt the woosh of air by your ear as you take a stroll in springtime?
Those beautiful but sometimes intimidating birds who stop at nothing to protect their babies. Those birds that rule the parks and sidewalks for several months of the year.
But have you ever thought about their side of the story? Have you ever wondered what it’s like for them?
Magpie stands guard.
He has one job. One desire. One purpose.
Keep the eggs safe.
As intruders stroll by, Magpie does his job with style and determination. No one can fool Magpie, and he gets them every time, even when they try wearing disguises. He’s good at his job, but there are still threats he doesn’t see coming, and sometimes he has to work extra hard to protect the babies.
I adored this picture book. Absolutely loved it. It explores a topic that is soooo relatable to soooo many of us, and I just love how Crisp injects the hilarious truth of magpie avoidance into her illustrations. I mean, who hasn’t tried the old ice cream tub hat or bike helmet with cable ties trick?
Crisp’s illustrations are simply stunning. With beautiful soft colours and details galore, in only one setting (Magpie’s tree at the park), Crisp creates an entire world, with multiple characters that have stories of their own lovingly weaved into their expressions, clothing and accessories. It’s truly a delight to turn each page, meet a new character and imagine who they are and what has brought them to the park.
I adored the simplicity of this story. The text is minimal, but each word is carefully chosen and wonderfully delivered. Readers will love joining in on the big swoops that curl and loop across several pages.
I also love how Godwin lets us see things from the other side. Reading this book shows you just how important it is for Magpies to swoop, and even though most of us feel targeted for doing nothing to hurt them, there are dangers for Magpies too. They are just trying to be the best parents they can be.
But this book is not a lecture. It’s fun, joyful, funny and relatable. It’s a perfect picture book that kids will love, love, love. And after reading the fun tale, when you are ready to learn more, there are four pages packed with information at the back of the book. You’ll learn about magpie features, their cheeky and hilarious antics, magpies in First Nations culture and their status as an Aussie icon.
This book ticks all the picture book boxes, and it’s one I predict will be treasured by schools, homes and libraries alike. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy of Swoop.
Teachers notes also available on the publisher’s website.
Author: Nicole Godwin
Illustrator: Susannah Crisp
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing, $24.99
Publication Date: September 2022
For ages: 3 – 6
Type: Picture Book
September 2, 2022 at 12:51AM Shaye Wardrop