This page contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
- Author(s): Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple (illustrated by Melissa Sweet)
- Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
- Publication Date: 2015
- Pages: 40
Be Your Own Birder’s Thoughts
Bedtime books are a staple for the youngest readers, and You Nest Here With Me is a delightful ode not just to a safe and comforting bedtime and tuck-in routine, but also to the nesting habits of a wide range of bird species. The lyrical, rhyming text uses words to help build vocabulary without talking down to readers, but the language is simple enough for easy comprehension of ages 4-8, the picture book’s intended audience.
Throughout the book, repetition of the title line “you nest here with me” builds familiarity and comfort to ease young minds and calm them for sleep. Individual lines and rhymes are clever and whimsical, yet still convey accurate information about the mentioned birds, in a simplified fashion suitable for young readers. At the same time, readers are introduced to a variety of birds, some of which will be immediately familiar and some of which are likely to help expand their knowledge of their feathered friends.
In the text, the birds are mentioned simply with appropriate adjectives and description. Most bird species are generalized – owls, hawks, wrens, terns – but others are referred to more exactly, including cowbirds and killdeer, which are likely to be more familiar to readers in different regions. Two pages at the end of the book with the Authors’ Note, however, expand on each mentioned species with more detail and information about diet, nesting, and other trivia that will appeal to older readers with the fun facts kids love. This is an ideal way to expand on a child’s enjoyment of a favorite bedtime book and teach them more about nature and birds.
Melissa Sweet’s folksy, rustic illustrations are done with simple sketching lines that nevertheless capture each bird’s general shape and proportions with accuracy suitable for the book’s reading age. Colors are also appropriate, including for species where males and females of different plumages are pictured. Simplified habitat settings complete the richness of each scene, and fun details – a crawling snail, a family of deer, and even a hidden hummingbird nest – are spread through the pages.
You Nest Here With Me is a true delight that fosters interest in different kinds of birds and nest structures. While the book lacks any instruction about how to help nesting birds by providing nesting materials, offering a nest box, or keeping one’s distance from resting bird families (topics that may be slightly beyond the intended reading age in any case), You Nest Here With Me is nonetheless a perfect addition to any bedtime story bookshelf.
Worth Reading? Yes – 9.5/10!
Return to Children’s Bird Books