March 31, 2014
Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Mama Built a Little Nest
by Jennifer Ward
illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Beach Lane Books
Ask your young readers to draw a bird’s nest and chances are that they will draw a classic nest, a cup of twigs small enough to hold in the palms of your hands. While that may be the first thing we think of, it certainly isn’t the last word in nests as author Jennifer Ward shows us in this simple rhyming text.
“Mama built a little nest
inside a sturdy trunk.
She used her beak to tap-tap-tap
the perfect place to bunk.”
The books opens with the tree-hole nest of the woodpecker and continues to introduce one unique structure after another. The material selections range from spider silk to a grouping of stones while the ecosystems span forest, shore and desert.
The main text is styled in a simple rhyme but each facing page has a sidebar insert that goes into more detail including the type of nest (scrape, burrow, etc.) as well as the name of the bird itself.
Steve Jenkins cut paper collage illustrations are a perfect match for this text, bringing visual detail and texture together. No, they aren’t photographs but young readers would definitely be able to tell one bird from another based on these graphics.
This book is suitable for a wide variety of readers. At story time with younger children, focus on the main text. The rhymes are brief, tight and fast-moving for a fun read-aloud experience. For older children, or to help answer younger children’s questions, include the sidebars. If you are studying birds and/or nest, this is an excellent source for young readers. This isn’t a roudy book and ends by tying the nest back into the young readers world — home and bed — making this book excellent for bedtime or cuddle time.
Add this one to your bookshelf for both learning and fun as winter turns into spring.