You Nest Here with Me

Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, illus. by Melissa Sweet. Boyds Mills, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59078-923-0
Frequent mother-daughter collaborators Yolen and Stemple, whose previous books include Not All Princesses Dress in Pink, offer a gentle rhyming bedtime story that spotlights 14 birds’ nesting habits and habitats. At bedtime, a human mother lulls her own “nestling” to sleep with verses that flit from bird to bird, before concluding with a reassuring refrain: “Pigeons nest on concrete ledges,/ Catbirds nest in greening hedges,/ Tiny wrens, in shoreline sedges./ You nest here with me.” Caldecott Honor artist Sweet’s (A River of Words) mixed-media illustrations portray familiar types of birds (pigeons, swallows, owls) alongside lesser-known killdeer, grackles, and coots, capturing their urban, seaside, wetland, or forest environs in bright swaths of watercolor paint and soft pencils. Some vocabulary (boles, tors) and observations (“Killdeer, once their eggs are laid,/ Perform a broken-wing charade”) invite further investigation; concluding notes provide explanatory details (“To lure predators away from their eggs, killdeer act like easy prey by faking a broken wing”) and other information about each bird. A well-crafted and informative window onto the world of winged creatures. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/19/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
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