Cover image for Unbeatable beaks
Unbeatable beaks
Swinburne, Stephen R.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Rhyming verses describe many types of bird beaks. Includes factual information about thirty-nine birds found in the Northern Hemisphere.
Reading Level:
AD 770 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 2.9 1 Quiz: 24157 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL697 .S85 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A beak is a spoon, a beak is a slicer.
A beak is a scraper, stabber, and spiker.

Have you ever wondered why birds have different shaped beaks? Many beaks are long and pointy while others are round and smooth. Some beaks have ridges; some are even shaped like spoons. Beaks are to birds what hands are to humans. That's why birds can do the most amazing things with their beaks--from spearing fish to turning eggs.

Stephen R. Swinburne's lyrical, chant-along text and Joan Paley's stunning paper collage illustrations introduce young children to a variety of wonderful birds and their distinctive beaks of all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Author Notes

Stephen R. Swinburne is a highly acclaimed author of nonfiction picture books for children. A photographer and naturalist, Mr. Swinburne lives with his family in South Londonderry, Vermont.

Joan Paley is the illustrator of What's That Sound, WoollyBear? A former art director and graphic designer, Ms. Paley lives in North Scituate, Massachusetts.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-This book stands out because of its colorful collages created from cut paper, paints, crayons, and pencil. Swinburne introduces a variety of birds and points out the myriad functions of their beaks in singsong verse, accompanied by striking images in which the distinctive features of each bird are clearly shown. All of them are labeled, and the last pages include a matching bird-to-beak quiz and pertinent information about all of the 39 species that appear. Some of them are commonplace, but others are exotic, making the book's value lie mainly in its discussion of the uses of their "unbeatable beaks," rather than as an identification tool. Not an essential purchase but a well-designed and interesting look at nature.-Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.