Magpies' Nest

Overview

In the springtime of the world, all the birds are wondering where to lay their eggs. Mother and Father Magpie carefully explain every step of nest-building, but one by one their impatient listeners decide they've heard enough and fly away . . . to build the amazing variety of nests we know today. This simple, deftly humorous retelling of a classic English folktale is illustrated with glorious watercolor paintings that accurately depict bird species, nests, and eggs. ...
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Overview

In the springtime of the world, all the birds are wondering where to lay their eggs. Mother and Father Magpie carefully explain every step of nest-building, but one by one their impatient listeners decide they've heard enough and fly away . . . to build the amazing variety of nests we know today. This simple, deftly humorous retelling of a classic English folktale is illustrated with glorious watercolor paintings that accurately depict bird species, nests, and eggs.

A story, based on English folklore, explains why each bird builds its nest in a different way.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-An expanded version of an English folktale originally collected by Joseph Jacobs in the 19th century. A bossy pair of magpies give lessons in nest building, but few of the other birds have the patience to follow their instructions completely. The subsequent plainness or complexity of their nests shows how long they stayed to listen. Foster adds detail and more examples-a whippoorwill who dozes through the whole thing, and a cuckoo and cowbird who lazily decide they'll let others do the work for them-but her retelling remains true to its roots. The bright watercolor illustrations have closeups and dramatic angles to draw readers in. Unfortunately, though the central birds in each picture are wonderfully alive, those on the edge of the action often appear sketchy and awkwardly formed. The endpapers show a variety of birds' nests and their eggs. A good story that will bring youngsters closer to nature.-Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library
Lauren Peterson
When some different kinds of birds wonder where to lay their precious eggs, colorful Mother and Father Magpie demonstrate their nest-building skills--beginning with mud, then adding sticks and twigs and weaving in grasses. After the first step, however, the flamingo becomes impatient and flies away, and to this day, flamingos use only mud in their nests. In a spirited retelling of an English folktale, Foster uses both humor and imagination to reveal the varied ways birds build their nests, and Downing's lovely watercolor-and-colored-pencil illustrations brim with lush spring colors and exquisite detail. A helpful double-page spread with captioned close-ups of the different nests featured in the story is a wonderful bonus for teachers and young bird-watchers alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395621554
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/23/1995
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.42 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Downing has written and/or illustrated over 30 picture books. For Clarion, she has illustrated The Firekeeper's Son by Linda Sue Park. Her books have received a Parents' Choice Award and a New York Public Library Best Books Award. She lives in San Francisco, California, and is very familiar with fog.
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