cover image My Baby Blue Jays

My Baby Blue Jays

John Berendt. Viking, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-01290-9

From Savannah to Venice to... the balcony? In a major departure from his bestselling adult nonfiction, Berendt (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) delivers a warm photo-essay about a pair of blue jays that make their home on his apartment balcony in New York City. While the arc of the story%E2%80%94nest-building, laying eggs, the first flight of a fledgling%E2%80%94is an old one, Berendt's telling is welcoming and personal, as if he were relating the story to a child in his lap while paging through a family photo album. "He must have told her that he'd found a place where they could build a nest," he says of the blue jay and his mate. "Do you know why I think so?" Set within scalloped borders against a cream backdrop, the photographs provide a remarkably intimate view of the birds' lives, though, as might be expected, occasional images are a bit blurry or pixilated. Despite a somewhat flat ending, this is a lovely first book for budding bird watchers or naturalists. Ages 5%E2%80%938. (June)