My Baby Blue Jays

My Baby Blue Jays

4.8 5
by John Berendt
     
 

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A blue jay building a nest outside his window prompts John Berendt to find his camera and record the familiar, yet always fascinating sequence of events that will unfold, from eggs being laid to chicks emerging and trying to fly. Children and adults alike will be astonished at the adventurous spirit of one particularly curious young blue jay as he ventures into the

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Overview

A blue jay building a nest outside his window prompts John Berendt to find his camera and record the familiar, yet always fascinating sequence of events that will unfold, from eggs being laid to chicks emerging and trying to fly. Children and adults alike will be astonished at the adventurous spirit of one particularly curious young blue jay as he ventures into the world. The author of the best-selling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil brings his narrative skill to this up-close and delightfully informal account of an event that recurs each spring.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From Savannah to Venice to... the balcony? In a major departure from his bestselling adult nonfiction, Berendt (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) delivers a warm photo-essay about a pair of blue jays that make their home on his apartment balcony in New York City. While the arc of the story—nest-building, laying eggs, the first flight of a fledgling—is an old one, Berendt's telling is welcoming and personal, as if he were relating the story to a child in his lap while paging through a family photo album. "He must have told her that he'd found a place where they could build a nest," he says of the blue jay and his mate. "Do you know why I think so?" Set within scalloped borders against a cream backdrop, the photographs provide a remarkably intimate view of the birds' lives, though, as might be expected, occasional images are a bit blurry or pixilated. Despite a somewhat flat ending, this is a lovely first book for budding bird watchers or naturalists. Ages 5–8. (June)
Children's Literature - Nicole Peterson Davis
Someone living on 87th street in New York City probably would not expect to see blue jays up close every day. But, that is just what happened to author John Berendt when two blue jays decided to build a nest on his balcony. He followed the blue jays step-by-step, from the start of the nest to the return of the babies. The photography is amazing as he was able to get so close to the little birds. He followed them carefully when they left the nest for the first time and was able to document how they strengthened their wings to be able to fly. This is an interesting book for children to read and thus learn: how birds are hatched and how they survive after they are born but before they can fly on their own. His insights and observations will delight young and old alike. Reviewer: Nicole Peterson Davis
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—This is a charming photo essay about blue jays nesting on the balcony outside the author's New York City home office. The colorful photos and conversational text follow the nest building, egg-laying, and chick rearing, focusing finally on the first fledgling to leave the safety of the nest for the more dangerous realities of life on the ground. Obviously delighted with his window into the avian world, Berendt happily anthropomorphizes the emotions of the intrepid little youngster, but the photos carry it off without a hitch. An elegant little production with ripple-edged photos mounted on soft beige pages (with an eye-grabber on the deep teal cover), this title will slip quite smoothly onto the shelf of springtime books, giving the old first robin a run for its money.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews

When two blue jays build a nest on a third-floor balcony of his New York City home, Berendt documents their work and the progress of their three eggs and chicks, right to the first fledgling's surprising first journey.

The author's 4"x6" snapshots, with scalloped white borders, are mounted one or two to a page above or alongside a short paragraph of exclamation-point littered text. These images, some perhaps taken through a window, are not always very clear. His text ascribes human emotions and actions to these birds and often talks down to his audience. "And what do you think he gave them to eat? Bugs and worms!" He also presumes gender, assuming it's the male who chose the nest site, began the construction and does the feeding, though he admits at the end that the only time he could tell them apart was when the female laid the eggs. He describes the birds' actions as if he were talking to grandchildren, using a first person conversational voice and occasional direct address. This is a first title for children by the city-dwelling author of best-selling adult nonfiction. Exciting as this encounter with nature was for him, he hasn't translated it into a successful children's book; a better choice is Pamela F. Kirby'sWhat Bluebirds Do(2009), with its large, sharp photographs, objective description and helpful end matter.

Subpar photography plus patronizing text keep this one from flying.(Picture book. 3-6)

Pamela Paul
Berendt, alas, is no National Geographic photographer. Some of the images are blurry…But the simple, homey story is so appealing, and the prose so carefully and sweetly pitched to young readers, that even adults will be transported to a state of childlike wonder.
—The New York Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670012909
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
06/09/2011
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,357,087
Product dimensions:
10.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
AD710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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