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"The Singer in the Stream," by Katherine Hocker and Mary Willson, $10.95.
Inside a dipper's world 120308 AE 2 Capital City Weekly "The Singer in the Stream," by Katherine Hocker and Mary Willson, $10.95.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Story last updated at 12/3/2008 - 2:02 pm

Inside a dipper's world

"The Singer in the Stream," by Katherine Hocker and Mary Willson, $10.95.

Move over, ravens: it's time to hear another bird's story! The starring birds in Katherine Hocker and Mary Willson's new book are not among the most well-known of Alaska's avian residents but readers may come to find them among the most endearing.

"The Singer in the Stream" tells the story of dippers, small gray songbirds who live in and alongside rushing mountain streams.

According to the author's notes, Hocker grew interested in dippers after reading about them in a picture book as a child. So it's no surprise that she and Wilson, who have been studying dippers together for the past five years, should team up to produce a dipper picture book of their own.

Readers will learn about dipper songs, where dippers live, what they eat and how they interact with other birds. The flowing rhymes of the story could almost be a song (were the authors influenced by their subjects?).

This would be a fun book for a bird-loving family. There's plenty of information to satisfy a young reader or a curious adult, though those unfamiliar with dippers may find one read-though enough.

For those who are always eager to learn about another creature and start dipper-watching, "The Singer in the Stream" is an excellent place to start. The authors even invite readers of all ages to share their dipper observations.

Katherine Hocker and Mary Willson will be signing copies of "Singer in the Stream" Dec. 5 during Gallery Walk at Hearthside Books in downtown Juneau.

- Katie Spielberger


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