A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fascinating facts about a wide variety of birds, their nests, and their offspring in varying locales, from city to wildlands, deserts to jungles, should inspire kids to be more attuned to the natural world and may inspire an interest in bird watching. An author's note includes a list of six websites for further study, such as audubon.org.
The underlying messages is that parents work hard to provide a safe place for their offspring to grow up.
Positive Role Models
The care birds take to build their nests and raise their young show they are dedicated, tireless mothers -- and in some cases fathers! -- who work hard to take care of their kids and give them the best shot at a long, happy, and healthy life.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jennifer Ward's Mama Built a Little Nest, illustrated by Kevin Jenkins (The Animal Book), is a fascinating nonfiction picture book that shows kids how different birds build their nests -- what materials they use and where they build them. Each bird is introduced with a clever, easy-to-understand four-line first-person poem, narrated by the baby bird in each case, complemented on the opposite page by a brief factual description of what's distinctive about how this type of bird raises its young. And dads help out, too -- like the emperor penguin, who keeps the mother's egg on his feet to keep it warm under his tummy folds for 60 days, or the cactus wren, who builds multiple dome-shaped nests on a prickly pear to attract a female. As spare and visually attractive as an Eric Carle book, Mama Built a Little Nest is a great intro to the natural world for budding science and nature lovers.
Is It Any Good?
Each example in Mama Built a Little Nest is truly amazing and fascinating, and easy for little ones to grasp. The four-line poems are cleaver and fun while synthesizing how this nest is different from others, using words a kid can understand. For example, a baby hummingbird observes: "Mama built a little nest,/ a cup so wee and snug/, with walls of moss and roof of sky/ and silky cobweb rug."
Illustrator Steve Jenkins' mixed-media collages on a stark white background are spare, sharp, and clear, helping kids focus on what's distinctive about each type of bird and nest.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.