And as it turns out, I love everything about this book - the size (a perfect-size-for-a-gift 6" square), the cover art (a fluffy watercolor Prothonotary Warbler, that we meet in the book), the artwork, the verse, the length.In Zen Birds, Vanessa uses as few as 6 words to capture the essence of thirty birds, from the everyday robin to the less-than-common Yellow-billed Cuckoo. The verse is Haiku-like, though not strictly Haiku in its most common form (three short lines of which the first line contains five syllables, the second line seven syllables, and the third line five syllables, for a total of 17 syllables). But like Haiku, the verse is simple and compact, which makes it accessible even to those who don't necessarily enjoy poetry (like me.) With the accompanying watercolor and pen artwork, strong mental, visual, and sometimes auditory images filled my mind. Take in the verse written for the Carolina Wren:
I've always loved the watercolor media, and Vanessa's technique creates mostly soft, fluffy birds that radiate a youthful exuberance. Strong Asian-inspired brushstrokes contrast the softness to complete each image. I particularly like the colorful curlicue strokes representing the mockingbird's song.
As I slowly and in silence took in each image and verse, a literal warmth crept over me, and often, a crooked little grin came across my face. We want books to move us, and this little book delivered big time.
Zen Birds would make a wonderful little gift book for the nature- and/or bird-lover you know, and don't forget, you're a bird-lover too.
Just a few words
Sometimes less is indeed more
(by The Zen Birdfeeder)
by Vanessa Sorenson
Published by Adventure Publications 2010
Zen Birds is available at Wild Birds Unlimited - Saratoga Springs NYIn accordance with Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255, it is disclosed that the copy of the book read in order to produce this review was provided gratis to the reviewer by the publisher.