While the birds were building spring nests in Michigan, our mailboxes were nesting new books about birds and nests. We’ve read them and are ready to push a few out of the nest and into the blog. If we missed some other worthy new fledgling nest title, please leave a comment so we can train our binoculars on it.
Lynn: First up for me is the charming nonfiction book, Mama Built a Little Nest (S&S/Beach Lane 2014) by Jennifer Ward. And what a treat this is! Each large-sized two-page spread shows a different species of bird and the unique nest built by that bird. On one page is a spritely 4 line poem from the baby bird and on the other in smaller print is scientific information about each bird and its nesting habits. Gorgeous detailed collage illustrations by the marvelous Steve Jenkins will captivate young readers. This is a wonderful way to introduce young children to the concept of nesting or to different bird species and can be used either as a classroom read aloud or a lap book.
Cindy: The robin is Michigan’s state bird and it seemed to be chirping at us from many books this spring. Have You Heard the Nesting Bird by Rita Gray (Houghton 2014) focuses on the quiet, nesting robin. The pages open with mourning doves, “coah, cooo, coo, coooo” and a starling singing “whistle–ee-wee-tree” and a swallow’s “ha-ha-chit-chit-chit, ha-ha-twitter-twit!” Two children out playing hear the variety of birds but no sound comes from the robin’s still nest. More birds chatter and chirp with their unique sounds across Kenard Pak’s watercolor and digital art pages in nature’s soft palette. The robin’s nest is quiet until there comes a “tapping, cracking…breaking, shaking…ruffling, shuffling…cheeping, peeping.” The robin babies are here and things get active. A final page spread is an interview with a robin, for instance, “Why did you fly off with something blue?” Young readers can refer back to the illustrations and clues in the spare text after reading the answer to the question. Gray’s text and Pak’s illustration combine for a solid entré to bird watching for young children.
Nest by Jorey Hurley (Simon & Schuster 2014) uses only one word per double page spread to follow a robin pair through the year of raising their baby chick. Here is a subtle concept book that can teach colors, seasons, day/night, and simple vocabulary in addition to a simple version of a robin’s life cycle. The author’s note provides details for the adult reader who can then share them with the child on future readings. The blue robin eggs on the end papers are a nice touch. I’ll be eager to see more books from debut author/illustrator Hurley.
Finally, who would know that a homemade nest with two speckled malted-milk eggs makes the BEST birthday gift? Children’s birthday parties are fraught with emotion…the excited anticipation and the sometimes disappointing reality. Ginger’s mom makes her invite ALL of the girls in her class to her birthday party, including the odd girl, Lyla Browning. It will be no surprise to adults that odd is often better and through the ups and downs of the birthday party, a new friendship is in the making. Don’t miss this delightful book by Jennifer K. Mann, Two Speckled Eggs (Candlewick 2014).