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Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?

Overview

Woodpecker calls from a tree, "cuk-cuk-cuk." Starling sings, "whistle-ee-wee." But have you heard the nesting bird?

In this book, we hear all the different bird calls in counterpoint to the pervasive quiet of a mama bird waiting for her eggs to hatch. Fun and informative back matter takes the shape of an interview so that readers learn more right from the bird's bill. Ken Pak's lively illustrations, paired with Rita Gray's words, render a ...

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Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?

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Overview

Woodpecker calls from a tree, "cuk-cuk-cuk." Starling sings, "whistle-ee-wee." But have you heard the nesting bird?

In this book, we hear all the different bird calls in counterpoint to the pervasive quiet of a mama bird waiting for her eggs to hatch. Fun and informative back matter takes the shape of an interview so that readers learn more right from the bird's bill. Ken Pak's lively illustrations, paired with Rita Gray's words, render a visual and sonorous picture book to be enjoyed by young naturalists.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/16/2013
Layering delicate leaves and branches in green-browns, gold-greens, and touches of scarlet, newcomer Pak gives Gray’s (One Big Rain) story about nesting robins a quiet, measured dynamism. The restraint of the artwork dovetails nicely with the story’s themes: caretaking, which is what the nesting robin is doing, and observation, which is what a human boy and girl are doing. The two talk about the birds they see, some of which are voicing their characteristic calls (“Sparrow makes a simple jingle./ chiddik, chiddik/ Swallow slides from under a shingle./ ha-ha-chit-chit-chit”). One bird, though, is mysteriously silent. “ ‘Not a single tweet or trill.’/ ‘This nesting bird is so still!’ ” The secret to the robin’s long stay on her nest is revealed as a dialogue between the sounds coming from the nest (“Tapping Cracking”) and the children’s observations (“The bird is starting to move around!”). It’s a fine first book about watching living beings in the wild, and it also serves as a beginning birders’ guide, identifying the features and cries of common backyard birds. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Fiona Kenshole, Transatlantic Literary Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"The pleasing text is well constructed, with rhythm and rhyme altered in different types of stanzas and distinctive birdsongs included in the verse. . . . A beautifully crafted, informative picture book."
Booklist, starred review

"This charming and unusual nature story contributes something new to the overstuffed field of bird-related picture books. . . . As welcome as the robin in springtime."
Kirkus, starred review

"The restraint of the artwork dovetails nicely with the story's themes: caretaking. . . and observation. . . A fine book about watching living things in the wild, and it also serves as a beginning birders' guide, identifying the features and cries of common backyard birds."
Publishers Weekly

"[A] lovely introduction to common neighborhood birds."
School Library Journal

"With its many birdcalls that invite imitation, the text is enjoyable in its own right, as are the softly texture, earth-toned setting in which children and birds enjoy each other's company."
Bulletin

School Library Journal
02/01/2014
PreS-Gr 3—A boy and girl on a neighborhood walk encounter many birds singing and calling. Short rhyming verses capture the essence of these backyard birds, e.g., "Cardinal wears a pointy hat. 'cheer-cheer-cheer-purdy-purdy-purdy'/Chickadee is an acrobat. 'chick-a-dee-dee-dee.'" The children wonder why the robin nesting in the tree next to their house is silent, until the day when cheeping, peeping follow the tapping, cracking sounds of the eggs hatching. Soft watercolor and collagelike digital art beautifully impart a springtime feeling to the spreads. Following the poem-story is a two-page mock "interview" with the mother bird, which serves as a useful explanation of nesting behaviors. This lovely introduction to common neighborhood birds also includes some less familiar varieties, such as the wood thrush and the whip-poor-will.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-15
Two children wander through the countryside listening to calls of common birds and wonder why the nesting robin alone does not make a sound. The calls of common birds—mourning dove, woodpecker, starling, sparrow, swallow, crow, cardinal, chickadee, catbird, blue jay, the onomatopoeic whippoorwill and wood thrush—are notated with pleasing accuracy, well enough to allow a child to identify them in nature, even as the children in the book encounter them. Finally, sounds of tapping, cracking and breaking shells emanate from the robin's nest. Cheeping and peeping are heard, and the long silence is broken by the newborn baby robins. The male robin's song is sweetly transcribed as "Cheerily, cheer up! My tree makes syrup! Syrup so sweet!" This charming and unusual nature story contributes something new to the overstuffed field of bird-related picture books. Gray's simple rhymes and accurate bird calls are attractively complemented by Pak's textured watercolor-resist illustrations in soft greens, browns and grays. Each bird is humorously but accurately depicted. A final "Word with the Bird" in Q-and-A format explains in detail why the robin is silent while hatching her eggs and answers many other useful questions, including the role of the father bird and what happens to the babies after they leave the nest. As welcome as the robin in springtime. (Informational picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544105805
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 178,878
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Rita Gray is the author of several acclaimed picture books for children. Raised in Southern California, she studied Psychology and Social Work in New York City, where she lives today with her family. During this time, along with knowledgeable teachers, artists and therapists, Rita worked with children and their families. She came to understand that a good book "holds an experience for a child, one that can be visited again and again". Visit her website at www.ritagrayreads.com.

Ken Pak grew up in Baltimore and Howard County, Maryland. After studying at Syracuse University and California Institute of the Arts, he worked at Dreamworks Animation and Walt Disney Feature Animation. He currently works as an illustrator and lives in San Francisco. Visit his website at www.pandagun.com.

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