Children’s Library: Backyard Birds

April 24, 2010, Epoch Times


As Spring settles into the backyard so too do the many indigenous birds to their habitats—building nests and singing songs. The flurry of activity from these colorful and joyful creatures can be a source of immense enjoyment for everyone including the youngest members of the family. Teachable moments abound if time is taken to explore the activities and characteristics of our backyard tenants with children. If this is a topic you’d like to focus on with your little ones, check out these books to supplement the experience:

Riki’s Birdhouse by Monica Wellington, published by Dutton Children’s Books

The perfect book to foster enthusiasm for backyard birding, Riki’s Birdhouse follows young Riki as he cares for the birds in his backyard throughout the year—embarking on many projects including building a birdhouse, making special food for critters that stay the winter, providing materials for birds’ nests, and watching and recording what he observes. Riki imbues a loving and ambitious character that will light a fire for a young reader to get out and “bird.” The back of the book provides practical notes on building and installing birdhouses, information about birdbaths and feeders, as well as accurate illustrations of the birds highlighted in the book. If you have a young one who’s taking notice of the birds outside inspiration will likely be gleaned from Riki’s Birdhouse.


The Cuckoo’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen, Illustrated by Stan Fellows, published by Candlewick Press

This lovely book of haiku poetry gracefully explores the birds and the seasons through this simple poetic format and lovely watercolor illustrations. The book concludes with a guide of each bird featured. The Cuckoo’s Haiku is a unique and fitting way to explore the diversity of birds.

An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long, published by Chronicle Books

This beautiful picture book details the textures, colors, shapes, sizes, and growth cycles of eggs of all kinds. It covers eggs of all sorts of birds as well as other egg-bearing creatures like turtles, insects, and fish. There are countless labels and explanations making this an especially educational read. An Egg Is Quiet provides full appreciation for the egg and the excitement of the new life it breeds.

Bird Songs by Les Beletsky, published by Chronicle Books

While not specifically intended to be a children’s book, Bird Songs is an excellent reference guide with some bells and whistles that will keep the attention of even the youngest birder. This beautifully illustrated volume of 250 North American birds provides a brief description and detailed pictures of each species, accompanied by a number that when located on the adjacent sound device, plays a digital recording of that bird’s song or call. The information in this impressive volume was created with the help of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, according to the introduction. Children will listen in wonder to the amazing sounds made by so many different birds and will delight in locating those they have seen in their own environment.

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