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"Sometimes a single, brief exposure to good reading material can result in a clear increase in enthusiasm for reading.... More
Summary: Mother birds are sad. They have no place to lay their eggs and always seem to be searching for a safe spot. They admire Maggie Magpie's nest, and they ask her to teach them. Maggie agrees, but each time she tries to explain a step, a bird gets an idea and flies off to create their own. As her class gets smaller, Maggie gets angrier. Will all the birds build a nest? A clever story about building nests is wrapped in this book full of facts about birds.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Reading Level: 4.1
Age of Child: Read with a 6-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter liked looking at the birds. She loved finding the eggs and baby birds in the nests.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a clever story. It will remind you of reading a fable or folktale (like a Native American story), but it is full of specific detail about how various species of birds build their nest.
Pros: This picture book offers information about birds wrapped in a fictional tale. The illustrations are finely detailed, and there is a matching game at the end that offers additional information to expand the learning.
Cons: The matching game at the back is a 2-page spread. Some kids may have a harder time seeing the two pages as one task and try to match the nests and bird descriptions for that page only.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is an enjoyable read, but not one you're likely to come back to over and over. The content seems better suited to public and school libraries than a child's bookshelf.
Educational Themes: The emphasis of the story is to describe how and where of birds and their nests. The story offers pictures and brief vignettes, and there is a lot more detail in the back. That said, you can also talk about folktales and storytelling as "early science" when people used stories to help them explain the world around them.