Readers of any age will be engaged by this fascinating account of the life and work of Yossi Leshem, Israeli ornithologist extraordinaire. From the opening image of Leshem crouched high up in a buzzard nest furiously banding baby chicks while their screeching parents circle above him, to the recent machinations of selecting an Israeli national bird, the fast pace doesn’t let up throughout this 60 page photo-essay aimed at middle grade and young adult readers. Dr. Leshem is most celebrated for his work with the Israeli Air Force on eliminating the danger of bird strikes colliding with aircraft. In fact, the book is dedicated to three air force pilots who lost their lives in just such a manner. He discovered that these accidents occurred during the heavy bird migration season, and considered that if he were to map the migration routes, he would be able to forecast where and when birds were expected to appear. The Air Force funded his daring project, thus saving many lives and aircraft. He also established a joint research and educational program with Jordanians and Palestinians called “Migrating Birds Know No Boundaries” which uses the Internet to track bird movements across various countries. The book is extremely well organized and the photos, maps, and sidebars are informative and eye-catching. It is indeed a pleasure to be able to share the positive aspect of Israel’s environmental successes with animal lovers of all ages and satisfy Dr. Leshem’s goal of building public awareness about birds and nature conservation. For ages 8 – adult.
Lisa Silverman is director of Sinai Temple’s Blumenthal Library in Los Angeles and a former day school librarian. She is the former children’s book review editor of Jewish Book World.