Whose Nest is Best?: A Lift-the-Flap Book (Heidi E. Y. Stemple)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Whose Nest is Best?: A Lift-the-Flap Book, written by Heidi E. Y. Stemple and illustrated by Gareth Lucas, a fun and interactive board book for beginner birdwatchers.

Of all the birds in the air and on the ground, who builds the best of nests? Is it the hummingbird’s tiny nest of dried grass and spiderweb threads? Or an oriole’s soft but strong nest that hangs instead of balancing? Is it the packed-mud nesting colonies of the swallows? Or a penguin Daddy simply resting his egg on his feet? There are lots of possibilities, but the truth is plain: whichever nest was built for the baby bird inside is the perfect nest for them!

Adorable! This cute little peek inside different types of common bird species’ nests, many of which can be found in the majority of backyards, parks, or local woodland areas, is both entertaining and educational. Stemple’s jolly rhymes and Lucas’s colorful quasi-geometric art combine nicely for a read that bird lovers of any age will enjoy. I wish a little clarification had been given on the nests featured that were built with human assistance (bluebirds and ospreys), and the design of the bluebird and robin are similar enough that the species can be easily confused, but these are minor quibbles. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ really enjoyed it, especially the interactive element. Overall, a lovely board book for young animal lovers, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Odd Beasts: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Animals (Laura Gehl)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Odd Beasts: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Animals, written by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Gareth Lucas, a board book look at some unusual creatures.

Very early readers can take a look at eight odd adaptations in the animal world with this simplified version of a nature primer. Introduced in brief rhyming quatrains (of which there are only three; four animals covered in each of the first two, then a delightfully humorous sign-off in the last), readers can meet the pangolin, the sunfish, the bush baby, and other unique animal pals.

Ambitious. It’s interesting to see such a broad subject get the board book treatment, and I’m on the fence over whether it works or not. The text for each of the eight animals is so brief that it really struggles to illuminate what makes their adaptations so unique; for instance, “this insect’s jumps are strong”, which is not only a bit of an understatement for the giant jumping stick, but fails to even give name to the insect. The artwork, while colorful and pleasing for young eyes, also struggles with this, especially in trying to establish scale on a massive creature like the sunfish. Gehl does include photographs and more details about the animals on the last two spreads, which helps immensely with the educational aspects, but is definitely framed for a slightly older audience. I don’t want to say this book doesn’t work, because honestly, we enjoyed it – JJ loved the artwork and especially the closing lines. The length of the main body makes for a quick read, and reading the supplemental material extends that. Overall, this one is simply a cool concept that falters a bit in its execution, but is worth checking out, especially for young animal enthusiasts; Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)