[A]n evocative appreciation of birds, birdsong, and human attempts to capture the words of birds in music and poetry. Aaaaw to Zzzzzd belongs in the bird lover’s backpack and on the word lover’s bedside table, an unexpected and sui generis pleasure.—Northeastern Naturalist—
This book is so much more than just a list of bird sounds…[It] provides an interesting overview of how humans have attempted to represent birdsong over the centuries.
A charming, funny, and eccentric book.
—Times Literary Supplement
But once the walk is clear and you’re inside and warming up with a cup of hot chocolate, you can get a foretaste of spring with a peculiarly charming book from MIT Press: Aaaaw to Zzzzzd: The Words of Birds…Aaaaw to Zzzzzd: The Words of Birds does what we hope all books will do (and which not all manage to accomplish): it opens a window on a world that has been right alongside us, yet unexplored, and gives us the vocabulary to understand and discuss it with a newly awakened appreciation for its wonders.
, Boston Globe “Ideas”
Aaaaw to Zzzzzd is a miraculous little book: a compressed encyclopedia of our fascination with avifauna.
, The Nation
Mr. Bevis compares his experience of hearing the sound of birds, ‘unhindered in its rawness and potency,’ to the way he hears the Lieder of Schubert and Schumann in German, a language that he does not speak but that still communicates to him in some unquantifiable way. ‘We cannot ground the emotions we hear in any birdland rationality,’ he asserts. What birds give us is—as Shelley wrote in ‘To a Skylark’—’profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
, Wall Street Journal
This gorgeous little book is a lexicon of bird words, the most plausible notation of sounds that often have dozens of phonic interpretations…This book is an elegant tribute to the beauty of its subject.
—Susan Salter Reynolds
, Los Angeles Times