Apex, NC: Persnickety Press, 2017

It is always exciting to find a book with an Idaho connection!  This one is full of interesting facts about the life of a bald eagle, conservation resources, and links to educational materials that don’t disappoint. (Warning: the Eagle Cam Live Feed is a bit addictive.)

Beauty and the Beak is the story of one particular Alaskan bald eagle who had her beak shot off by a poacher. She was found by a police officer and taken to a wildlife center, where she met one of our authors, Janie Veltkamp. Veltkamp, a raptor biologist, runs Birds of Prey Northwest, a raptor center in North Idaho near Lake Coeur d’Alene.  She took the injured eagle, by then named Beauty, home to Idaho, and made a plan for her healing and recovery.  Soon she put together a team that would work to print and fit Beauty with a prosthetic beak.

This is a moving story that incoprorates the conservation success story of the bald eagle, the challenges that all raptors face in our world, and Beauty’s happy ending. There are clear, daramatic photographs of bald eagles at various stages of development from eaglet to adult, and then of Beauty being fitted with her new beak.

The back matter in Beauty and the Beak is almost better than the story, although the text becomes more dense and complex. Teachers and librarians using this for classwork, and students using it for research will find the text full of useful informtion. Use of more graphic representation (like a diagram of the anatomy of an eagle, or a map representing the population density of eagles in North America, for instance) might have made this book even better.

The Education Guide and other teacher resources that come with this title are quite good and give students and educators alike lots of options for finding more information. There is even an .stl file to 3-D print Beauty’s beak available. Be sure to download the QR Code reader to use the codes in the back of the book. Birds of Prey Northwest visits schools, libraries, and other groups (including library conferences) with their captivating program featuring live birds of prey.  Nothing raises goosebumps like making eye contact with an eagle!

This title is a must-have, especially for Idaho elementary and middle school libraries, particularly when paired with the other educational resources that go with it.

Dewey: 598.9 Interest Level: Grades 3-6

Reviews and Awards:  Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal

Younger readers might like: Bald Eagle by Gordon Morrison

Older Raders might like: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Fiction Pairing: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George or The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

On the Web:

Birds of Prey Northwest in North Idaho is Beauty’s home.  Visit this site for information on bringing birds of prey to your school.

The World Center for Birds of Prey is located in the Treasure Valley.  This website has an Exploring Raptors section like “find a raptor,” and help identifying raptors by their silouette, along with the characteristics that make a bird a raptor. There is also information about programming available through the Peregrine Fund.

Intermountain Bird Observatory at Boise State University holds bird banding events for many species of birds.

Bird Cams from Audubon and the Decorah Eagle Cam are so fun to watch!