cover image HUMMINGBIRD NEST: A Journal of Poems

HUMMINGBIRD NEST: A Journal of Poems

Kristine O'Connell George, , illus. by Barry Moser. . Harcourt, $16 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202325-6

Sublime illustrations and keenly observant verse are sure to captivate in this collection of poetry about a hummingbird that set up house in the author's backyard. George (Book ) kept a journal of the real-life eight-week episode, and her poems proceed in sequence. From the mother hummer's first territorial displays during nest-building (recounted in "Breakfast on the Patio") to the fledging of her two babies ("Congratulations"), the lyrical anecdotes are rich in metaphor. "Feed Me! Feed Me!" showcases the hungry nestlings: "two thin beaks point toward sky—/ exclamation points./ Mom returns with spider snacks—/ open beaks,/ capital V s." George effectively employs different perspectives, as in the humorous piece "The Dog Complains": "That bird/ is making a mess —/ splashing,/ flapping./ .../ What can that bird be thinking?/ Bathtub?/ Swimming hole?/ Out bird! / That's my bowl!" The tone turns bittersweet in "Farewell": "How did you know/ it was time to try/ your wings and claim/ your corner of the sky?/ I only wish/ I'd said good-bye." Dated in journal fashion, Moser's (One Small Garden ) delicate watercolors resemble field-guide illustrations, their varied perspectives inviting readers into the avian adventure. Multiple views of the thumb-size nest, the diminutive birds and their leafy microenvironment provide enough variety to maintain visual interest. A thoughtful author's note and extensive facts about hummingbirds conclude this work, one likely to send kids to their own yards for inspiration. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)