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Alphabetical Aves

A is for Avocet: A new book great for kids (human or parrot) and adults alike.

Amanda Lafond

Follow Amanda Lafond on Twitter at @PepperNPals

A is for Avocet
Courtesy Scott Partridge
A is for Avocet
is a book that features a bird species for each corresponding letter.

Feel like your ABCs could use a little more avian influence? I recommend checking out Scott Partridge’s new book, A is for Avocet.

Partridge, the author and illustrator, calls it an "abecedarian aviary.” Each page is filled with gorgeous art featuring a bird species that corresponds to a letter, "from avocet to zebra dove.”

The style of the artwork is minimalistic, colorful and riveting. Each bird is lovingly represented with simple shapes and patterns that combine to form beautiful pieces. Each page looks as if it should be framed on a wall.

Partridge drew inspiration for this style from another artist. "I'm deeply influenced by Charley Harper, a master illustrator of nature,” he said in an interview. Indeed, Partridge’s work does bring Harper’s to mind. It captures that same sense of what Harper called "minimal realism.”

When I asked why he chose birds, he said, "I've always liked birds since I was little. It might have something to do with my name, but it's probably a coincidence.”

When selecting which birds would stand for the letters, Partridge decided to reach beyond the obvious. "I wanted to choose mostly obscure birds, so that the average person would find at least a few that they had never heard of. That way the book is educational for people of all ages. The name erne, meaning ‘sea eagle’ is one that seems to only occur in crosswords.”

For each letter, Partridge could only choose one bird, meaning some didn’t make the cut. "There are so many that I had to leave out — hornbill, flamingo, quetzal, puffin, woodcock, kiwi, cassowary, toucan, to name but a few. There are about enough to do several more books, except that there is only one x bird — xenops. X will pretty much always be for xenops when it comes to birds.”

Partridge spent a great deal of time "googling” for the research portion of production. After that, the creation of the art presented some new challenges for him. "It's my first book. I had to figure out how to format it, and what color palettes to use that would look good in print.”

A is for Avocet page
Courtesy Scott Patridge
A for Avocet was created by Scott Partridge

When it came to writing, Partridge decided to make it a bit poetic. "I incorporated a rhyming scheme, and I'm sorry I used a few approximate rhymes. Hopefully I can be forgiven,” he joked.

This whole process took the author/illustrator less time than many would think. Partridge said it took him "about six months from conception to holding the first copy in my hands.”

While the style of the art and writing certainly makes the book kid-friendly, Partridge hopes his audience goes beyond that. "I wanted this to appeal to everyone. From feedback I've gotten, very young children like it, but ideally it would be something their parents would enjoy reading to them, and looking at too.”

If you’d like to get a copy for yourself, A is for Avocet is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. A preview is also available for viewing here.

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Posted: June 18, 2014, 8:45 a.m. PDT

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Reader Comments
These birds are copyright infringements on the images of the late Charley Harper. They are direct lifts of his work. Scott Partidge should be ashamed of himself for trying to build his art career by attempting to profit from the talent of another, without payment to him or his heirs. A true artist seeks to develop his own style, not copy the work of artists he respects.
Brett, Cincinnati, OH
Posted: 6/20/2014 1:03:04 PM
This is really neat. Enjoyed seeing the bird artwork, it's very colorful and happy looking.
n, n, TN
Posted: 6/19/2014 1:27:36 PM
Sounds and looks interesting.
janet, henderson, NV
Posted: 6/18/2014 4:22:53 PM
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