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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Children are full of questions and this is reflected in the title of Who Taught Songbirds to Sing? by Kristina Schoettle. They want to know everything and usually all at once. Their questions can be a simple “Why,” or as pensive and deep as a series of questions about the creatures that inhabit our planet. They want to know who taught monkeys to fly through the trees, who taught the dolphins to swim while they’re sleeping and so much more. Here’s one question that I love: “Who taught starlings to soar side by side / Waltzing wing to wing, while in flight? / They dart and dip as they dance through the air / Like a lovely ballet in the sky.” The answer can also be as simple and sweet as the questions a child asks: “The answer is simple, I’m sure you’ll agree:/ Our good God created them all.” God created all the creatures on earth and He gave them their unique gifts.
Kristina Schoettle’s picture book, Who Taught Songbirds to Sing?, is a sweet story of questions and answers, one that explores the many mysteries of our planet and the unique creatures that inhabit it. In rhyming verse and with beautiful, bold, colorful illustrations that could be stained glass windows in a Gothic cathedral, the author presents a multitude of creatures and their unique traits, many of which I’ve never heard of before. It’s not all about creatures; there is the example of tulips: “He taught tulips to hide from the snow.” In the end, the author sums up the tips with a simple answer and does a more detailed study of each of the creatures featured and some of their unusual characteristics. She begins and concludes with quotes from the Bible to support her explanation about “who taught.” This is a great learning tool for young readers as not only will they learn about so many of God’s wonderful creatures, but they’ll also grow in their love of God and all He has done for everyone and everything.