Skip to Main Content

Discover the magic—and the science—behind the migration of warblers with this stunning photographic picture book from the award-winning author and photographer of Raindrops Roll, Best in Snow, and Full of Fall.

The migrating warblers have arrived, to feed and preen, to refuel and rest before continuing on their amazing journey of thousands of miles. This photographic picture book captures in lush detail the story of these tiny, colorful, and diverse birds. April Pulley Sayre’s vibrant photography has been called “striking” and “wonderful in every way” by Kirkus Reviews, and Warbler Wave is just that.

Photograph by Jeff Sayre

April Pulley Sayre is the award-winning author of more than fifty-five natural science books for children and adults, including her photo-illustrated Being Frog and Best in Snow. Sayre’s books have received an abundance of starred reviews, been dubbed ALA Notable Books (Raindrops RollRah, Rah, Radishes) and have won a Geisel Honor (Vulture View). April and her husband, native plants expert Jeff Sayre, love science and adventure. Visit her at


This stunning, oversize book opens with migrating warblers flying before daybreak: “Tiny. / Strong. / Pushed along / by wings / and rivers of wind. / They share / the air / with buildings, / bats, turbines, and towers. / Then bedraggled, they drop, / A refueling stop. / They must find food / or die.” The terse verse defines their purposes and provides a light narrative structure, while leaving space for viewers to linger over the large, beautifully composed photos showcasing the birds and their fascinating, purposeful actions. For 28 years, Sayre and her husband, Jeff (credited with some of the photos here), have taken time out every spring to observe migrating warblers. Spacious double-page spreads display their crisp, clean photos of these songbirds in woodland stopover sites. The enlarged, close-up pictures offer intimate glimpses of the colorful birds as they flit, walk, preen, sing, and forage for caterpillars, spiders, moths, and mosquitoes. For older readers, a four-page appended section discusses warblers and their migration: why they travel, how they find their way, and what enables them to maintain their energy during the long flights. An irresistible picture book for animal-lovers and a unique read-aloud choice for classes discussing migration. — Carolyn Phelan

– Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*, Nov 15, 2017

Beautiful photographs of warblers in nature are accompanied by rhythmical text that results in an imaginative singsong trip outdoors. Describing their behavior the authors write: “In spring, as you nightly nap, warblers flap over oceans, lakes, and mountains. Tiny. Strong. Pushed along by wings and rivers of wind.” The main draw of the book is the trademark photography (previously featured in Best in Snow, Raindrops Roll, and many more books), which features close-up detailed views. The images are so precise, it is almost as if the subjects are suspended in time. The authors call them “beautiful blurs” since they are small, fast, and difficult to find. Plenty of extras are included in the back section for those wishing to learn more, most notably information on warbler migration. VERDICT Visually stunning, this book is great for independent and small group browsing.

– School Library Journal, December 1, 2017

From the author of Woodpecker Wham! (rev. 5/15) comes another science picture book featuring spectacular photographs and spare, precise text, this time focusing on the migrating group of tiny birds called warblers. Oversize pages first show the expanse of sky and land over which warblers fly and the buildings around which they must navigate; our view then zooms in on one jewel of a bird that has come to rest in a tree. The poetic text mirrors the flight patterns of the birds: very short rhyming lines (“They search. Stalk. / Wag. Walk”) are contained inside the one long poem that makes up the narrative. The lilting text helps draw readers beyond the prettiness of the photographs into more closely observing what the birds are doing in each photo as they search for food, and the pictures catch the birds at moments like “gleaning” something from a twig, or dining on a moth. The pages are skillfully laid out to guide the eye and are spacious enough to highlight the variety of colors, stripes, and other markings on the birds. Short and focused enough for a preschool storytime, this also includes dense pages of additional information, as well as a link to a website that identifies in detail each of the birds photographed.

– The Horn Book Magazine, March/April

More books from this author: April Pulley Sayre