n

 

The best signs of Spring certainly include the return of birds. When I first
hear the songs of these migrating birds, I find myself reflecting back to my
younger days growing up in Utah where the breezy meadows brought the seven
note melody of the meadowlark. Here in Missouri, I look forward to hearing
the sunrise cooing of the morning dove or the afternoon warble of the
whippoorwill.
Every region in the United States has a familiar bird returning to that area
that many look forward to hearing out of windows, walking down quiet lanes
or lounging under a tree. In the Eastern part of our country, many look
forward to the return of the thrush. "Welcome, Brown Bird," by Mary Lyn Ray,
is a simple, yet powerful tale celebrating the return of this migrating
bird.
A young boy is patiently waiting for his returning feathered friend. "...In
March he watched the snow melt. In April he saw the grass grow green. Then
he began to listen." When his father wanted to cut down the trees where the
thrush lives, his young son declares, "No, the thrush lives there."  When
the summer season passes and the cold air returns, the book takes a unique
turn of events. A boy from another part of the world where the climate is
tropical is waiting for the return of his favorite brown bird:  the thrush.
This extraordinary book demonstrates the anticipation, and appreciation, of
migrating birds. But the most unusual part of the book is that it actually
demonstrates where the bird goes when it flies south. The story relates how
much the bird is also appreciated in its tropical home, as well as its home
farther north, demonstrating just how important these birds are to all
involved. The book ends with the northern boy waiting and listening for the
thrush as the snow melts and the cycle begins once again.
This picture book will give a young reader an awakening concept of the
migratory patterns of birds. The pictures, by Peter Sylvada, are beautifully
painted with bold hues of golden brown, brilliant blue and sunburst yellow.
They completely fill each page with such majesty that you feel you've just
stepped into the woods and can almost hear the rustle of wings.
Even though the text is simple, children of all ages will enjoy the story.
And the note from the author at the back of the book will give more
information about how birds know when and where to migrate, as well as the
importance of protecting their natural habitats.

n

Now for a book about the tiniest of all birds: "Hummingbird Nest - A Journal
of Poems", by Kristine O'Connell George, is a journey of a hummingbird from
building its nest to feeding its family.
There are dates entered from February 3, when the bird lands in a small
potted tree on the porch to April 1 with the onslaught of new hummingbirds.
Each page brings a new date, a new poem and a new picture, beautifully
painted by Barry Moser. As you progress through these entries, you begin
feel part of the excitement taking place on the porch as the family observes
the bird's activities, "...Something is beginning. Two promises made - two
eggs newly laid."
Don't forget to read the author's note at the end of the book. You'll
discover the real life story that took place on the author's porch one early
February day. Plus, there's much more information and book references about
hummingbirds located at the back of the book.