Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Children's Book Review: Beauty and the Beak

Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle
By: Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp
48 pages; ages 5-12


BEAUTY AND THE BEAK is a new, nonfiction picture book about Beauty, the wild bald eagle that made world news when she was illegally shot, rescued, and received a pioneering, 3D-printed prosthetic beak. BEAUTY AND THE BEAK follows Beauty close up from the moment she uses her baby beak to emerge from her egg, through her hunt when she uses her powerful adult beak to feed herself, to the day her beak is shot off leaving her helpless. This brave and heartlifting story continues through her rescue, into the months of engineering her 3D-printed prosthetic beak and intense hours of her beak surgery, to the moment she takes the first drink of water by herself with her new beak.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAK captures the spirit and courage of this amazing bird and America’s national symbol―whose species was nearly wiped out by human activity, only to be restored and thriving because of environmental conservation and human compassion. This book will resonate with stories of other animals endangered or in need, and with stories of humans, from young children to military veterans, in need of prosthetic limbs, who are being given new lives with state-of-the-art devices. 

The book includes expanded information about bald eagles as a top predator species, their near extinction in most of the U.S., their successful reintroduction back into the wild, and efforts to conserve this critical raptor species today.


I love it when my kids read. They are 4, 10, and 14 years old. My oldest child will read without needing told. Reading is something that comes naturally to her, and something that she LOVES to do. My son is 10. Most of the time, I have to force him to read. My youngest daughter is 4 and she loves it when I read to her. Mostly, they enjoy completely different types of books. Sometimes, however, there is a book that they all can enjoy. I am happy to be introducing this book, which is a good example of a story that kids of all ages (and also adults) can truly enjoy! 

The “Beauty and the Beak” book that I was sent to review is a very good story wrapped in a colorful sleeve that will easily attract boys and girls of all ages. The painted illustration on the front is so lifelike, it is breathtaking. The pictures inside the book are real. The excellence and depth of writing are immediately noticeable from the very first page. Somehow, the writing sucks you in without making you over-read, but is still simple enough to captivate all age groups. Everyone loves bald eagles (especially kids) so the subject of the book is very interesting by default. That subject, by the way, deserves to be featured in her own book, not simply because of what she had to overcome, but the kindness that was extended to her as people came together for the first time to help her in an extraordinary manner!


The book introduces you to Beauty, she is a bald eagle with a surprise. I don’t want to give away the entire plot, but the details in the story describe the pain that humans with no regard for these majestic creatures can cause. Beauty (our stories’ bald eagle) literally finds herself trying to survive in a suddenly overwhelming world, as she heals from an injury that cost her the top of her beak, the entire curved piece is gone. The story goes on to tell of a caring officer rescuing beauty from certain-death, a loving caretaker who watches over her and helps her feed and groom, a brilliant engineer who uses skill and science to create a new beak, and his dentist who tirelessly shapes and attaches the new beak to Beauty. 

The story is very moving. Beauty loves her new beak and uses it very well. After the details of Beauty’s story are told, you are left with a happy and proud feeling. Sure, there are people willing to attack a creature as beautiful and rare as beauty, but apparently, there is no shortage of capable and creative minds to also do what used to be impossible (or at least much harder) to achieve. You are left nearly in tears, not of sorrow, but of joy, as you conclude beauty’s story and are left to reflect in what can only be her happiness. If eagles could say “thank you”, believe me when I say that Beauty definitely would!

Apart from the deep and emotionally stirring narrative, the latter half of the book is filled with great and educational information. It starts with a “What is Beauty up to now” type section, and then moves through many different facts about eagles. Things such as their eating habits and ecology. This part of the book maintains the creative and addictive writing style and pictures, while also encouraging kids to not only learn, but ask additional questions. Everything about this book is positive. If you want your kids to read, learn while they read, and be exposed to positive messages of people coming together and overcoming big obstacles and odds, then this book is absolutely perfect. 


About the Authors:
Deborah Lee Rose is an internationally published, award-winning author of bestselling and beloved children's books including Into the A, B, Sea (a quarter million copies sold), Jimmy the Joey, Ocean Babies and The Twelve Days of Kindergarten. She helped create and directed communications for the NSF/Oracle-funded STEM activity website howtosmile.org, honored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and ALA's Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) as a top website for kids. As senior science writer for UC Berkeley’s renowned Lawrence Hall of Science, she helped create a suite of STEM activity apps, including DIY Sun Science and DIY Lake Science, that have been downloaded 1.5 million times. She graduated from Cornell University. deborahleerose.com

Jane Veltkamp is a raptor biologist and rehabilitator, wildlife educator, trained nurse, and master falconer. She led the multidisciplinary team who developed Beauty the Bald Eagle’s prosthetic beak. She is founder and executive director of Birds of Prey Northwest in Idaho, a nonprofit raptor center which educates the public about raptor conservation, and which has provided medical treatment and rehabilitation to thousands of injured birds of prey to return them to the wild. She spent ten years reintroducing ospreys and peregrine falcons to regions where they had disappeared. Through special sponsorship from Idaho STEM Action Center, she is expanding conservation education through her live raptor programs. She earned her master's degree at Purdue University and trained at the University of Minnesota's Gabbert Raptor Center. birdsofpreynorthwest.org

About Persnickety Press and the Cornell Lab Publishing Group:
The Cornell Lab Publishing Group (CLPG) is the Lab’s mainstream book publishing arm. Persnickety Press is CLPG’s sister imprint for children’s books that empower, inspire, and engage children in today’s relevant STEM, sociological, and relational topics.


Where to purchase: You can purchase make a purchase from the Persnickety Press website.You can also purchase from Amazon for $12.26 If you love nature and birds, then you will love getting 20% off BEAUTY AND THE BEAK and all other books, calendars, and products from the CORNELL LAB PUBLISHING GROUP. Use PROMO CODE AAAS20 at www.cornelllabpg.com through the end of March, 2018. 

Follow Deborah: Facebook | Twitter | Website
Follow Janie: Facebook | Website

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post with a product to review, from either a PR agency or a company. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use or would use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Your opinions may vary from my opinions. Links in the post above my contain affiliate links. You can also go here and read my PR and Disclosure Polices.

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