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Two Blue Jays

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Miss Dana's class has front-row seats for one of nature's most awe-inspiring spring performances. In the branches of the fir tree outside their classroom, two blue jays build their nest. Shortly after the nest is completed, the female blue jay lays her eggs. The male brings her all kinds of food-an acorn, a worm, even a piece of a cookie! She guards her eggs closely, but the children are able to get a quick glimpse of them. Days later the children see the newly hatched baby blue jays huddled together in the nest....

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Overview

Miss Dana's class has front-row seats for one of nature's most awe-inspiring spring performances. In the branches of the fir tree outside their classroom, two blue jays build their nest. Shortly after the nest is completed, the female blue jay lays her eggs. The male brings her all kinds of food-an acorn, a worm, even a piece of a cookie! She guards her eggs closely, but the children are able to get a quick glimpse of them. Days later the children see the newly hatched baby blue jays huddled together in the nest. Three weeks later, the children say good-bye as the blue jays leave the nest for the first time. Without a single lesson, the birds spread their wings and take flight. This charming story with spectacular three-dimensional illustrations will bring out the nature observer in every child.

Megan Halsey's cut-paper illustrations are best when the vividness of the blue jays takes over. Over all, her palette is oddly subdued, at least compared with the riot of color found in most real-life kindergarten rooms. A useful touch here is provided by the illustrations of different bird eggs on the inside front cover, with striking images of the birds that sprang from those eggs at the back. — Linnea Lannon

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Using a school setting, Rockwell and Halsey (who collaborated on One Bean) share an abundance of bird information in an organic, personal way. A girl with brown hair and glasses narrates as her class watches a pair of blue jays build a nest, lay eggs and raise their young. Halsey's layered collage compositions, photographed for a three-dimensional effect, heighten the drama playing out in nature. For instance, as the teacher explains to the narrator why the mother jay must keep her eggs warm ("Because baby blue jays are growing inside"), the artist creates three time-lapse drawings of the forming fetus within a trio of egg-shaped white backgrounds. An aerial view of the nest itself, photographed against a light blue background, emulates the sense of peering down into the nest. Other bird facts slip in through children's observations, dialogue and activities. Halsey's lively, multilayered illustrations appear to catch the gorgeous, cobalt birds in mid-flight, and Rockwell's forthright approach will grab readers' attention. Describing the baby birds, the author observes, "They weren't cute and cuddly like some baby animals are.... Not one of the baby birds had a single feather." Children may well catch the narrator's enthusiasm: "Whenever I see a blue jay or hear it squawking, `Jay! Jay! Jay!' I always wonder if it's one of ours." An author's note shares additional information, and endpapers display a lovely line-up of nine other common feathered friends (and their eggs). Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
I have a great bias for cut paper art, I don't know why, but I find it very visually appealing. The illustrations in this book showing two blue jays building a nest, laying eggs and raising babies are so accessible and delightful to look at. I especially like the picture of the four fuzzy headed babies in the nest; adorable! Children learn the life cycle from nest building, the male jay feeding the mother, nesting, hatching and learning to fly and leaving the nest. The end papers in the front show different kinds of birds' eggs, the ones in the back show the matching birds. This book works on many levels and can be used for late preschool through fourth grade. 2003, Walker & Company, $15.95 and 16.85. Ages 4 to 9.
— Sharon Levin
School Library Journal
Facts are skillfully inserted into this story, which follows a pair of blue jays as they mate, build a nest, and raise their young. Have the class keep count of blue jays seen near school and home. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Having watched caterpillars Becoming Butterflies (2002) in a previous episode, the children in Miss Dana's class have ringside seats when two blue jays build a nest outside the classroom's window, and raise four chicks. To Rockwell's brief commentary on the adult jays' nurturing behavior toward each other and toward their offspring, Halsey depicts high spots in tidy bas-relief paper collages. A selection of the eggs and adults of other commonly seen yard or woodland birds on the endpapers makes a pleasant addition. Despite inconsistent pronoun use ("We made a list of what the male brought back in its beak. When he wasn't searching for food...."), this affords a clear, concise explanation of a natural event that even most urban children will be able to observe on their own. (afterword) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802788405
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.35 (d)

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