Why are we so enamoured with nests and eggs? I know I am. I have a found hummingbird nest that is a treasured possession. All of that work and skill in such a tiny package. What draws us to eggs and nests? I think it is because nests and eggs represent the miracle of life in a much more observable way than pregnant bellies (although pregnancy itself is full of all kinds of miracles). Nests and eggs are about birth and growth and care – all on the outside for us to witness. If we happen to be so lucky. And when we get a peek, it seems so special.
I can manage clean sheets, fluffed pillows, layers of blankets, dim light. The intricate weaving, crafting, building that is nest making, I can’t even imagine.
But if I wanted some inspiration, A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long (Chronicle Books 2015) is the place to start.
Most interesting for me?
- the nests of African gray tree frogs – described as a “frothy mass that hardens into a meringue like crust.”
- the neighbourly nests made by the black tailed prairie dog and the baya weavers
- the nests hardened onto cave walls by cave swiftlets who spit strands of saliva to make these nests. These nests are what bird’s nest soup is made from. Wow.
Like all of Aston and Long titles, this is a must own.
Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (HMH Books for Young Readers 2015)
So incredible to see an egg and wonder what might possibly be inside. Who could imagine that a crow’s egg would be such a stunning mottled blue and black?
Nestled in nests or left on bare branches? If no predators are about, leaving an egg all on its own is just fine – like the white tern does. Or build your own protection? The green lacewing produces thin stalks, attaches them to a leaf and then places an individual egg at the end of each. No hungry ants will find them. Genius.
Lots of other information in this book: How many eggs do various creatures lay? Who likes to devour eggs? (Is it just me of is the egg-eating snake absolutely fascinating?) Who carries their eggs instead of leaving them in a nest? How do various creatures keep their eggs warm? How exactly do they get out?
I love the additional information at the back of the book that gives the habitat and length of each animal in the book. I use these pages when I share Jenkins titles with my class to estimate size – we predict and then get out our rulers. The children find this so interesting!
Other nonfiction picture books about nests and eggs I would recommend.
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!