by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
I love this book for as many reasons are there are birds that roost.
A journey through the curious habitats of birds starts at bedtime as a mother is tucking her little nestling under the sheets. The ensuing list takes us across the wide reaches of fields, forests and shores, illustrated in a vibrant colours. It also reminds us that we often have the opportunity to share our homes with these fabulous feathered families as they shelter nearby - on concrete ledges, barn doors and telephone polls.
The numerous nesting habits are set to a rhyming cadence which is lovely to recite, and the illustration spreads are soothing and inviting, showcasing the birds in various climates cooing around their young.
Swallows nest above barn doors
Plovers nest in sandy shores
Eagles nest upon high tors
But you nest here with me.
If you aren't sure what a 'tor' is, don't worry - I had to look it up, too. Other nesting places that were new to me were sedges and boles, but thanks to this book, we're much the wiser! I have to admit I felt instantly better-equipped to answer relentless toddler's questions about any ol' bird, which I'm sure will come in handy in the next few years! I've even gained a cursory understanding about kooky nesting habits and egg identification thanks to the nifty legend at the end of the book.
The authors' note revealed that authors Jane and Heidi are mother and daughter from a family of bird-watchers. Jane's husband, David, travels the world to spot rare birds, Heidi is an owl enthusiast, while Jane keeps her garden bird-friendly so as to enjoy their songs.
This book is a lovely introduction to the fledgling bird-lover. And at its heart, is a simple message of love of parents for their children. Time and again, the verse takes us back to the repeated line for which the book is named - 'But you nest here with me' - a soothing iambic accompaniment to a straight line drawn with my finger, from the tip of my daughter's nose to the centre of my heart.
You Nest Here With Me is published by Boyds Mills Press.