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Mama Built a Little Nest: with audio recording

Mama Built a Little Nest: with audio recording

by Jennifer Ward, Steve Jenkins

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A delightful exploration of the incredibly variety of nests birds build for their babies, illustrated by a Caldecott Honoree.

Mama built a little nest
inside a sturdy trunk.
She used her beak to tap-tap-tap
the perfect place to bunk.

There are so many different kinds of birds—and those birds build so many


A delightful exploration of the incredibly variety of nests birds build for their babies, illustrated by a Caldecott Honoree.

Mama built a little nest
inside a sturdy trunk.
She used her beak to tap-tap-tap
the perfect place to bunk.

There are so many different kinds of birds—and those birds build so many different kinds of nests to keep their babies cozy. With playful, bouncy rhyme, Jennifer Ward explores nests large and small, silky and cottony, muddy and twiggy—and all the birds that call them home!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Birds are creative architects, ingenious builders, and caring parents. From the thimble-size nests to large stick nests, nests that are high on ledges to low on the water, these avian creatures engineer nests to raise and protect their young. There are many kinds of nest materials including small stones, spit, cobwebs, and mud that are used in construction. On the other hand, Emperor penguin eggs are care for by the father while cowbirds, whydahs, and cuckoos leave their eggs in nests of different birds. The four lines of verse introduce and briefly describe each bird and their nests. There are captions that include additional information. The collage illustrations feature the birds and their nests such that the pictures can be seen in a group read aloud. On the back end page, readers will find a list of web sites to explore to learn more information about birds. This book is a welcomed addition to a science unit on birds. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—A practically perfect science picture book. Ward features a different kind of bird's nest on each spread, with a four-line rhyming verse suitable for reading aloud on the left-hand pages, and a few sentences offering more information, at a higher reading level, on the right. Jenkins's colorful cut-paper collages, set against white backgrounds that emphasize their attention to detail, illuminate each of the birds' creations. Readers will find nests ranging from the tree-hole cavities of woodpeckers to the scrape nests of falcons to the astonishing woven nests of weaverbirds, and even some that challenge readers' assumptions about what a nest is, such as the emperor penguin egg's "nest" on top of the father's feet. Equally excellent for classroom or storytime, this harmonious blend of text and illustrations executes a simple concept beautifully, in a manner that allows readers of various ages to approach the book in different ways.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Publishers Weekly
★ 12/23/2013
Jenkins's (Animals Upside Down) signature paper collages handsomely illustrate this inviting read about bird nest variety. Ward (What Will Hatch?) showcases 14 nest types, from simple scrape nests to intricately woven ones, with rhythmic verses that begin the same way: "Mama built a little nest," although there's some variation on that theme ("Daddy built a little nest"). Realistic vignettes of birds and their nests are set against a white backdrop; spots of vibrant color accent the muted hues of the mostly female nest builders. In one scene, deep ruddy shades adorn a female grebe's majestic profile as she swims near her nest: "Mama built a little nest./ She gathered twigs that float/ and placed them on the water/ to create a cozy boat." Captions alongside the illustrations offer additional information about nesting materials and habits. Families using this as a bedtime book will appreciate the snug ending: "You have a nest—your very own!/ A place to rest your head/ with pillows soft and cozy thoughts—/ your nest is called a bed!" Ages 4–8. Author's agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)
* "Ward and Jenkins show the beautiful variety of bird nests found around the world. Each jaunty, lilting four-line poem describes a type of nest. . . . Jenkins' gorgeous, remarkably realistic illustrations fill each spread and show the birds and nests in lively, species-specific detail. . . . Young bird-lovers will adore this cozy, illuminating look into avian habitats."
Kirkus Reviews
Echoing the meter of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create. Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she's found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird's perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins' accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail. A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers. (author's note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

Beach Lane Books
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File size:
17 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Meet the Author

Jennifer Ward has written numerous award-winning picture books, including Mama Built a Little Nest, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. A former elementary educator, Jennifer Ward is an experienced public speaker who travels the country, speaking in schools and at international and national writer and literacy conferences. She lives with her family in Edwardsville, Illinois. Visit her at JenniferWardBooks.com.
Steven Jenkins has written and illustrated many award-winning children’s books, including Hello Baby! by Mem Fox, Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward, and the 2003 Caldecott Honor recipient, What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Visit him at SteveJenkinsBooks.com.

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