Cover image for Vulture view
Vulture view
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 2007.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 27 cm.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
"Turkey vultures soar on the balmy air, looking for their next stinky feast. These birds don't hunt--they like their food to be already dead. Vultures are part of nature's cleanup crew"--Inside front dust jacket.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book E 598.92 SAY 1 1

On Order



Turkey vultures soar on the balmy air, looking for their next stinky feast. These birds don't hunt--they like their food to be already dead, and their eating habits serve a very important ecological role. Vultures are part of nature's clean-up crew.

In her signature poetic, energetic style, acclaimed nature writer April Pulley Sayre introduces young readers to the world of the turkey vulture. The gorgeous illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winning artist Steve Jenkins capture these birds in all their surprising majesty.

Vulture View is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Author Notes

APRIL PULLEY SAYRE is the award-winning author of more than fifty natural history books for young readers. She and her husband live in South Bend, Indiana.

STEVE JENKINS has illustrated many books, including the Caldecott Honor winner What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? He lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page, and their three children.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sayre (Hush, Little Puppy) and Jenkins (Living Color) buoyantly approach a subject that usually receives a straight and narrow treatment. Instead of a parade of facts, the author deftly employs patterned verse to explore the standout attributes of the turkey vulture (it catches warm air currents to soar, eats carrion, etc.). "Vultures smell the air./ They sniff, search, seek/ for foods that... Reek!/ Those fragrant flowers?/ No, no./ That spicy smoke?/ No, no./ That stinky dead deer?/ Yes, yes!" Jenkins brings his exquisite brand of paper collage to this hero of the food chain; here the vulture's striated black and gray wings (and sometimes just their silhouettes) contrast against a brilliant cerulean sky that dominates several spreads. The artist's exacting hand can be seen in the ultra-fine shading on the birds' magenta heads or the carcasses (never gory in presentation) that signal dinner for the soaring scavengers. Endnotes delve into more detail, explaining such questions as why the birds can safely eat rotten meat (their bodies can sterilize decomposing food). Celebrating the majesty of an underappreciated creature, this volume should attract a wide audience both for its fascinating content and sprightly execution. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Primary) Majestically gliding turkey vultures are a familiar sight in the skies above the continental United States. In just a few poetic lines per two-page spread, Sayre introduces readers to the daily activities of the turkey vulture -- soaring on thermals, eating carrion, gliding down to rest at the end of the day. The energy and promise of each new day is reflected in the book's repeated stanzas: ""Wings stretch wide / to catch a ride / on warming air. / Going where? / Up, up!"" Additional flora and fauna -- snakes, fox, bear, and even flowers -- make appearances to help readers understand that vultures don't eat live animals, preferring ""stinky dead deer"" (tastefully portrayed without gore). Jenkins's cut-paper illustrations capture the readily recognizable silhouette of the birds as well as zooming in to detail their intricate feather patterns. Additional factual information about vulture habitats, and resources for further study, are found in the final pages of the book. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* When writing about vultures, the topic eventually comes around to stinky meat. That's true, here, but rarely has a book about these scavengers gotten such a gorgeous treatment. Sayre's poetic text begins with the sun rising: Wings stretch wide / to catch a ride / on warming air. The words, almost startling in their brevity, describe a group of turkey vultures as they soar in the sky, seeking food that reeks: Vultures like a mess. / They land and dine. / Rotten is fine. Caldecott Honor Book artist Jenkins takes this idea and flies with it. He places the birds against strong, vivid colors brilliant sky blues, hot desert reds and gives them wide wingspans that make them seem to soar across the pages. On the ground, snakes crawl, flowers bloom, and carcasses rot, and it's the latter that draws the vultures. Jenkins' signature collage work camouflages the stinky dead deer to some extent, but young children will still understand that the book presents the cycle of life. A final two-page spread, Get to Know Vultures, does a solid job of explaining how turkey vultures live and the service they perform as nature's cleanup crew.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2007 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-A spare, rhyming text delineates a day in the life of turkey vultures. As the sun rises and the air warms, the birds glide "up, up" to "-tilt, soar, scan/to find the food that vultures can-/-eat!" Passing by a snake, a fox, and a bear, the creatures "-sniff, search, seek/for foods that-/REEK!" Jenkins's dynamic, brightly colored collages show the birds from different viewpoints and are often quite dramatic, especially the black silhouettes of the animals set against a red sky at sunset. The use of questions in the poetic text will also engage children. The final spread provides additional information about vultures. This picture book is a welcome resource, particularly for regions in which the soaring of the turkey vultures overhead is a familiar sight.-Robin L. Gibson, Granville Parent Cooperative Preschool, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Vultures may seem an unlikely subject for a literary celebration, but this playful, brief poem and accompanying collages serve as a pleasing celebration. From ascent on morning thermals through a day of scavenging to rest at night, the vultures' routine unfolds on the page. Page turns lead readers along the vultures' search for "foods that . . . / REEK! / Those fragrant flowers? No, no. / That spicy smoke? No, no. That stinky dead deer? Yes, yes! / Vultures like a mess. They land and dine. Rotten is fine." Sayre's text is positively gleeful in its exposure of the previously unacceptable subject matter to a child audience, depicting vultures not as cartoon villains but as a necessary part of nature. Jenkins's textured collages reveal unapologetically ugly vultures against a breathtakingly clean blue sky, almost chortling as they juxtapose lovely blossoms with the decomposing deer carcass. A two-page appendix gives readers a chance to "Get to Know Vultures" and provides a more thorough context for the preceding fun. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.