On Bird Hill
written by Jane Yolen; illustrated by Bob Marstall
2016 (Cornell Lab Publishing Group)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
As I was walking on Bird Hill,
Though it was day, the moon shone still.
A young narrator is walking his dog in the early morning. He spies a tree on top of Bird Hill. As he meanders closer, his observations narrow. The trunk has both dark and light colors. Moving nearer, a long limb catches his eye. On that limb is a twig where a bird is resting in a nest. Underneath the bird is an egg where a chick is just emerging. As the chick fluffs itself and stretches, it notices all of the items that were mentioned before.
At this point, you're probably wondering why this book is special. Little birds hatch all the time in books. True, but those little birdies didn't hatch with the wonderful words of Jane Yolen. There's a lovely rhythm she builds that will be an engaging shared reading experience as you read this book during the time that your class watches hatching baby chicks. It opens your eyes to the extraordinary in the ordinary of nature. Young children are especially good at giving nature its due. Most adults would glance, say "That's nice.", and go back to their phones. Yolen's words encourage us to pay attention to the world around us and take in the audio and visual beauty. Speaking of visual beauty, Bob Marstall's artwork is delightful with points of view coming from all directions. I particularly enjoyed the bright greens and yellows on the pages. Especially intriguing to young readers will be the illustration of the chick in the egg. I didn't catch it at first, so see if your audience is more astute than me (They will be.).
On Bird Hill is a great start for the Cornell Lab's new publishing group. I look forward to more books in this series.