3 out of 4 stars
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The phrase ‘Irrational Geographic’ on the cover immediately made me want to read The (Not So) Complete Birds Afoul of North America Vol. 1. I expected a humorous but informative discussion on birds, and this book by William McGill did deliver just that.
The (Not So) Complete Birds Afoul of North America Vol. 1 is divided into 12 parts with respect to the type of birds being featured. The types of birds mentioned in the book range from the more familiar ducks and turkeys, to species I’ve rarely heard of like gannets, grebes, and cormorants. The author introduces different species of birds through short, humorous comics strips with birds as characters. This book is a compilation of comics strips drawn and handwritten by the author for how many years. The earliest date stamp I saw in the comics is 2010, and the latest is 2016. Thus, this book is the culmination of the author’s efforts for six years. The book also contains short notes found at some pages. These notes list the species of the birds featured in the comics strips, the birds' scientific names, and other interesting trivia.
The comics strips are bound to make readers smile and laugh. And despite its focus on providing information on birds, the book is not too information heavy. This book is just a fun, easy read. Hats off also to the author for drawing more than 300 species of birds. That definitely is an amazing feat in itself. However, I wish he did not handwrite the texts for it only made the book unorganized and made some texts a bit difficult to read. Many words were forcibly squeezed into the text boxes. I also observed a number of grammatical errors, like missing commas, wrong word usage, and lack of prepositions. Sentences were also often choppy since the author had to fit the words into limited spaces. In addition, perhaps since the comics strips were created in different years, the author failed to notice that a few of his gags were already repetitive.
This book really needs to undergo professional editing. I understand it would be difficult to edit handwritten texts, but the author could always commission a graphic designer to do the job. I do not know what the second volume offers, but I do hope the author took more time in editing Volume 2.
For its fun discussion on birds, I give The (Not So) Complete Birds Afoul of North America Vol. 1 3 out of 4 stars. To be honest, my rating is actually 2.5 stars. I decided to round it off to 3 because of the drawings. I recommend this book to animal-loving adults and adolescents and to anyone who wants to learn more about birds. But please note that if you are looking for extensive information regarding different species of birds, this book does not delve that deep. Although the colorful drawings would definitely attract children, I cannot recommend this book to younger readers due to the grammar errors and lack of organization. Still, parents and teachers could always use the drawings in the book as supplementary material when teaching kids.
The (not so) Complete Birds Afoul of North America Vol.1
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