Another nonfiction picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall.
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? was written by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published it in 2014.
The ISBN is 978-0-544-10580-5.
I don’t like writing reviews when a book is disappointing to me.
But Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? is not my favorite among the nonfiction books I’ve read recently.
The illustrations are lovely, soft and quiet using nature’s palette. I like them. And the backmatter is an interesting set of 11 questions and answers about nesting, eggs, and baby birds. I like that. But the main text of Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? disappointed me for two reasons.
The words that represent various birds’ songs fell flat for me much of the time. I write picture books about nature, too. When I’m reproducing the sounds animals and birds make I listen to recordings of the sounds over and over. Then I try dozens of written combinations to create that critter’s voice as closely as I can. I didn’t see that kind of accuracy in Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?
Do cardinals really sing, “cheer-cheer-cheer-purdy-purdy-purdy?”
Does a wood thrush sing, “ee-oh-lay ee-oh-laaay?”
Perhaps I’m missing the reason the author and editor had for representing the songs this way. But it didn’t resonate with me.
Secondly, the ending was abrupt and didn’t feel complete or satisfying to me.
If you read to young children check this book out at your library and see what you think.
And please let me know if you think I’m really confused about it.