Are you looking for a book that will add a bit of whimsy to your own stories or the stories you and your young reader share? If so, The Birdwatchers by Simon James (Candlewick Press, 2002) is a book you need. I’m an amateur birdwatcher so I was intrigued, however it is much less about bird watching and much more about the fun and silly way we can have a relationship with someone we love and trust.
Many parents or grandparents tease their children in a fun-spirited way and the child is quite capable of understanding truth versus fiction, of knowing when they’re being spun a tall tale. The Birdwatchers captures this kind of relationship brilliantly. As the author and illustrator, I suspect Simon James knew from the start what he wanted the illustrations to show. There are several times in the story where you could stop and talk about tall tales with your child, but I would definitely not do that with the first reading. You would spoil the magic.
Often I am too serious and so I wonder and wish I could write a picture book this quirky and humorous. I am off to reread it and ponder how to develop some eccentricity in my writing.