The Best Nestby Doris L. Mueller
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Long ago, when the world was young, the magpies' nests were the envy of all other birds. To help the other birds, Maggie Magpie patiently explained how to build a nest. But some birds were impatient and flew off without listening to all the directions, which is why, to this day, birds' nests come in all different shapes and sizes. This clever retelling of an old English folktale teaches the importance of careful listening.
Gr 2-4- An old English folktale (unsourced) creates a foundation for a new version of how or why each bird builds its nest differently. "Long ago, when the world was young, only the magpie knew how to build a nest." The other birds leave their eggs in unsafe places, and so they ask the magpie to teach them how to keep their babies safe. Each one then departs to build the nest that suits its needs, and the book ends with the intricate and sturdy nest home of the oriole. The author provides support for additional activities, information about each bird, "bird math" (problems based upon the number of broods and eggs for each species), bird care, and a "match the nest" activity. Illustrations show each bird in mixed media with watercolor and pen and ink details. Side panels give readers close-up views of each egg while the bird community-11 species from robin to whip-poor-will-exhibit their personalities and reveal their interest in building as they race across page frames to finish their nests. Additional activities and information on the birds featured make this book a good choice for children with high interest in the topic.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX
Meet the Author
Doris L. Mueller (pronounced Miller) (The Best Nest) has been a teacher and professor at every level from kindergarten through graduate school. She currently teaches college-level writing courses and a class in Children’s Literature. Her previous books include a picture book, Small One’s Adventure, a middle-grade novel, Marryin’ Sam, and a biography, M. Jeff Thompson: Missouri’s Swamp Fox. Doris recalls that whenever she failed to listen to instructions, her mother would tell her an Old English Tale of how, when the magpie tried to teach the birds how to build a beautiful, strong nest like hers, all but one failed to attend to her instructions and went off to build inadequate nests. She retold the story, substituting birds native to the US, and added factual information telling how various birds build their nests. Doris and her husband live on a small lake outside of St. Louis and have many bird visitors at their bird feeders�woodpeckers, humming birds, nuthatches, and goldfinches, among others. Their own children are grown and have flown the nest.
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