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The Picture Book Buzz

Dig, Dance, Dive: How Birds Move to Survive - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Okay, so if you know anything about me, you know I like birds. There was no way I could pass up featuring this fun nonfiction picture book. It's such a great way to get kids involved in learning about birds by showing them ways that birds move like them and a few fun moves unique to birds. Anyone dabble (headfirst) in a lake recently? This is an entertaining exploration of some fascinating birds with fun moves, which releases Tuesday, June 21st.

Dig, Dance, Dive: How Birds Move to Survive

Author: Etta Kaner

Illustrator: June Steube

Publisher: Owlkids Books (2022)

Ages: 6-9



Birds, fun ways birds move, and adaptations.


A funny and informative look at birds and their unique behavioral adaptations

Birds can do a lot more than just fly! Did you know some of them can dig, dance, dive, and dabble? This nonfiction book introduces readers to an assortment of fascinating birds and their surprising behaviors. Readers will learn about flightless birds like the Adélie penguin, which toboggans down hills on its belly, or the kakapo, which climbs up trees to escape danger. Even birds that fly have quirky survival behaviors―like the barred owl, which can turn its head almost all the way around, or the blue-footed booby, which dives from great heights to catch fish.

Written by prolific children’s nonfiction author and educator Etta Kaner and whimsically illustrated by artist June Steube, Dig, Dance, Dive invites readers to greet all sorts of amazing feathered friends in a fun and informative exploration.

Opening Lines:


don't just


They also move in unusual and surprising

ways. They dig, dance, dive, dabble, and

much more. Wonder how and why birds

make their amazing movements? Read

on to find out

What I LIKED about this book:

Let's start with the end pages. Just wow. I knew that red-crowned cranes' mating dances are amazing to watch, but the way June Steube presents them in the end pages reminded me of ballerinas! Just stunning!

Text © Etta Kaner, 2022. Image © June Steube, 2022.

And I don't know about you, but the enthusiasm of this cute penguin on the title page reminded me of Mumble in Happy Feet.

Text © Etta Kaner, 2022. Image © June Steube, 2022.

So, after June Steube snags our interest with stunning illustrations, Etta Kaner personally invites the reader to discover some fun ways that birds move. By using an oversized main text with two words (highlighting how birds move - Birds walk/Birds run/Birds dabble...) and interesting sidebars full of information about the birds and their particular movement, Kaner engages a wide range of readers. Although listed as 6-9, I think it will easily appeal to very young kids as well as older kids & adults curious about interesting birds.

Additionally, the impressive, full-sized spreads of each bird will capture everyone's attention, especially visual learners. Although there's an almost whimsical appearance to many of the faces, the detail in the birds' feathers, feet, and environment is very realistic and captivating. Just look at those toes - while I've seen kittens & puppies grow into pretty big feet but I'd never seen such huge feet on a fledgling.

Text © Etta Kaner, 2022. Image © June Steube, 2022.

It's fun to see how many actions, which kids would associate with themselves, are actually done by birds. Especially, if before reading the book, they're asked - "What do birds do?" and the majority likely replies "Fly." Kids will enjoy learning how Adélie penguins toboggan, kakapos climb, roadrunners can outrun them, and mallee fowl dig giant holes with their feet. While there are some, like the duck and owl, which will likely be familiar to most kids, a bird that dives into the water at 60 miles-an-hour or one which spins in a circle sixty times in a minute will probably be less so.

The book ends with the perfect snuggly movement of a piggy-back ride. The final page includes cameos and short comments on seven other birds with fun movements. Including a bird I'd never heard of; a bird whose chicks actually have two claws at the tips of their wings! A throwback to dinosaurs? This is a wonderful book for reinforcing some action verbs and exploring some of the wonderful diversity and uniqueness that exists among birds.


- try making an origami penguin, duck or parrot.

- can you walk, climb, run, dig, stalk, twist, dive, spin, and jump? Now, pretend you're a bird and try the actions again. Was that harder?

- try bobbing for apples - don't cheat and use your hands. How hard was that? How would you like to eat all your meals that way?

- watch the birds near you. Draw a picture or keep a log of things you've seen birds do.

- pair this with Big Book of Birds (The Big Book Series) by Yuval Zommer.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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