cover image Not Your Nest!

Not Your Nest!

Gideon Sterer, illus. by Andrea Tsurumi. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2827-6

“If you build it, they will come” is not what an industrious little yellow bird has in mind when it constructs a cozy nest in a big tree on the savanna. Yet each time the bird diligently, proudly completes a nest, another species—a giraffe, an elephant, an entire meerkat family—stakes an improbable claim to it. “The ground is too far away and I have no wings,” says an unrepentant, interloping zebra, omitting any explanation of how it got to the nest in the first place. Absurd humor and frantic frustration fit Tsurumi (Crab Cake) like a glove, and as much as readers will sympathize with the bird, it’s also great fun to see how this exuberantly talented illustrator stuffs a tree full of surprising denizens. All dialogue-balloon text by Sterer (The Night Knights) nails how infuriating it can feel to be on the receiving end of unabashed selfishness (“It fits me better. You must understand,” the implacable elephant says). And both creators give the protagonist just enough mettle to foreshadow a happy outcome—one in which the bird gets the highly satisfying last word. Ages 3–7. [em](Mar.) [/em]