'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 2 September 2022

Review: Swoop

Have you ever felt the whoosh of air by your ear as you take a stroll in springtime?

Have you ever ducked your head as a snapping sound clicks in your ears?

Have you ever avoided ‘that’ street because you know what’s waiting in the last tree on the left?

You know what I’m talking about...


Those beautiful but sometimes intimidating birds who stop at nothing to protect their babies. Those birds that rule the parks and sidewalks for several months of the year.

But have you ever thought about their side of the story? Have you ever wondered what it’s like for them?

Swoop is a fabulous new picture book by two AMAZING creators (Nicole Godwin and Susannah Crispe) that explores the world of magpies from the magpie’s perspective.

Magpie stands guard.
He has one job. One desire. One purpose.
Keep the eggs safe.

As intruders stroll by, Magpie does his job with style and determination. No one can fool Magpie, and he gets them every time, even when they try wearing disguises. He’s good at his job, but there are still threats he doesn’t see coming, and sometimes he has to work extra hard to protect the babies.

I adored this picture book. Absolutely loved it. It explores a topic that is soooo relatable to basically everyone, and I just love how Crispe injects the hilarious truth of magpie avoidance into her illustrations. I mean, who hasn’t tried the old ice cream tub hat or bike helmet with cable ties trick?

Crispe’s illustrations are simply stunning. With beautiful soft colours and details galore, in only one setting (Magpie’s tree at the park), Crispe creates an entire world, with multiple characters that have stories of their own lovingly weaved into their expressions, clothing and accessories. It’s truly a delight to turn each page, meet a new character and imagine who they are and what has brought them to the park.

I also love how Godwin lets us see things from the other side. Reading this book shows you just how important it is for magpies to swoop, and even though many of us feel targeted for doing nothing to hurt them, there are dangers for magpies too. They are just trying to be the best parents they can be.

But this book is not a lecture. It’s fun, joyful, funny and relatable. It’s a perfect picture book that kids will love, love, love. Each word has been carefully chosen and superbly delivered. Readers will adore joining in on the big 'swoops' that curl and loop across several pages.

And after reading the fun tale, when you are ready to learn more, there are four pages packed with information at the back of the book. You’ll learn about magpie features, their cheeky and hilarious antics, magpies in First Nations culture and their status as an Aussie icon.

This book ticks all the picture book boxes, and it’s one I predict will be treasured by schools, homes and libraries alike. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy of Swoop.

Teachers notes also available on the publisher’s website.

Title: Swoop
Author: Nicole Godwin
Illustrator: Susannah Crispe
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing, $24.99
Publication Date: September 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781486315697
For ages: 3 - 6
Type: Picture Book