Friday, March 27, 2015

You Nest Here With Me

You Nest Here With Me
by Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple; illus. by Melissa Sweet
32 pages; ages 4-8
Boyds Mills Press, 2015

theme: bedtime, family, home, nature

Pigeons nest on concrete ledges,
Catbirds nest in greening hedges,
Tiny wrens, in shoreline sedges.
You nest here with me.

From grackles to eagles, plovers to killdeer, Yolen and Stemple describe different places that birds nest in spot-on rhyme. They end each stanza: "You nest here with me". Combine that with Sweet's gorgeous illustrations and you've got a book that you'll want to read every night.

What I like LOVE about this book: let me count the ways:
  • The birds ~ such a diversity of species and nest types
  • Introduction of new words: tor
  • Diversity of habitat
  • Unlovely birds ~ cowbirds, for example
  • Repetition ~ You nest here with me
  • A feeling of safety 
  • Spot-on illustrations
  • Texture~ you can almost feel the twigs
  • Vibrant color
  • Collage
  • Back matter! (everyone knows I love back matter)

Beyond the book activities: Build a bird nest. Go outside and gather materials that you think a bird might use in making a nest. You might find twigs,dead grass, fur or feathers, mosses, lichens, pine needles, and mud. Now try constructing a nest. How does it compare to the real thing? Find out by...

... going outside on a nest hunt. Take your journal and a camera along, because you might want to take some photos of how birds have built their nests - and jot notes about what you discover. This time of year you're likely to find old nests, unless you live where birds have already started their spring construction projects. Take a good look at where the nests are placed. Will they be well-hidden when leaves cover the trees? How high are they from the ground? And are the birds using all natural materials? Or have they incorporated bits of man-made stuff?

Help your backyard and neighborhood birds out. Give them some nesting materials - but choose things that are natural and degrade (not plastic or foil). Drape bits of string, thread, yarn, or natural fiber fabric over trees and shrubs. Or loosely fill a suet cage with strips of newspaper, broom bristles, mop strings and other natural things that could be used for a nest. Then hang it where birds will find it.

Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. We're also joining PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copy from the publisher.


  1. Another gem! You know how to pick them. Both books pair so nicely. Children love birds and watching them build nests. I really like your suggested activities. Children would have fun picking out items to help birds build their nest.

    1. My kids loved hanging bits of yarn and string on the low branches of the cherry tree.

  2. I love the STEM selections today. And I love your resources and activities for nesting. Another thing I love is Jane Yolen. I Loved her "Owl Moon' so much I included it in my book "Annie's Special Day" when the father quiets the girls down in their pillow fight.

    Great selection, Sue!

    1. Owl Moon is such a fun book. Thanks for mentioning it, too.

  3. Oo, I have this one on hold at the library and I can see I am not going to be disappointed.

    1. I hope they fill your loan request soon. You won't be disappointed!

  4. I ordered this book from World Eye bookstore so I could get a signed copy! It should be here soon. You have whet my appetite.

    1. Wendy - this seems like the sort of book you will love.

  5. This looks lovely! Nice to see birds get more attention. Thanks!