This book tells the story of a bird’s day, from finding breakfast to literally feathering her nest. So far, so ordinary, you might think. But it has a clever execution – the book is littered with scientific descriptions of the forces the bird is using, such as push and pull. I love the way that these scientific explanations are made simply and are woven through the text in a smaller font, so they don’t distract from the narrative. The story stands on its own, even without the scientific explanations, and has a lovely friendly and straightforward tone.
There’s also a little science experiment at the end of the book for children to explore push, pull and gravity a little further in an easy way.
The illustrations are delightful, in a muted colour palette. I’m reminded of a mash up between Orla Kiely and 60s/70s children’s book illustrations. The gorgeous expressions on bird’s face convey her delight at a delicious worm for breakfast, the difficulty of lifting a heavy twig, and the pleasure of snuggling in bed after a busy day of work.
This book is a must for school and public libraries, and deserves a place on the shelves of Early Childhood Centres and home book shelves as well. Young children delight in exploring the natural world, and this book would be a great starter or follow up to watching birds make their nests, exploring a nest that’s fallen from a tree, or exploring simple push and pull experiments in the playground or backyard. Cause and effect is easily observed, and Bird Builds a Nest will give even the most unscientific of adults a way of giving children the language to describe what they’re seeing and doing. Recommended from age 3 or 4 up to about 8.
Reviewed by Rachel Moore
Bird Builds a Nest
by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Richard Jones
Published by Walker Books