Mama Built a Little Nest

Illustrated by Steve Jenkins
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About The Book

A delightful exploration of the incredibly variety of nests birds build for their babies, illustrated by a Caldecott Honoree.

Mama built a little nest
inside a sturdy trunk.
She used her beak to tap-tap-tap
the perfect place to bunk.

There are so many different kinds of birds—and those birds build so many different kinds of nests to keep their babies cozy. With playful, bouncy rhyme, Jennifer Ward explores nests large and small, silky and cottony, muddy and twiggy—and all the birds that call them home!

About The Author
Photograph by K. Volk

Jennifer Ward has written numerous award-winning picture books, including Mama Built a Little Nest and Mama Dug a Little Den, both illustrated by Steve Jenkins. A former elementary educator, Jennifer Ward is an experienced public speaker who travels the country, speaking in schools and at international and national writer and literacy conferences. She lives with her family in Edwardsville, Illinois. Visit her at JenniferWardBooks.com.

About The Illustrator
Photograph by Robin Page

Steven Jenkins’s many celebrated children’s books, include Can An Aardvark Bark? by Melissa Stewart, Hello Baby! by Mem Fox, Mama Built a Little Nest and Mama Dug a Little Den by Jennifer Ward, and the 2003 Caldecott Honor recipient, What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Visit him at SteveJenkinsBooks.com.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (March 2014)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442421165
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® AD860L ? The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create. Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird.... Jenkins' accomplished collage illustrations...are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail. A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers."

– Kirkus Reviews, January 2014

* "Jenkins's (Animals Upside Down) signature paper collages handsomely illustrate this inviting read about bird nest variety.... Families using this as a bedtime book will appreciate the snug ending: "You have a nest--your very own!/ A place to rest your head/ with pillows soft and cozy thoughts--/ your nest is called a bed!""

– Publishers Weekly, December 2013, *STARRED REVIEW

* "Ward and Jenkins show the beautiful variety of bird nests found around the world. Each jaunty, lilting four-line poem describes a type of nest. . . . Jenkins' gorgeous, remarkably realistic illustrations fill each spread and show the birds and nests in lively, species-specific detail. . . . Young bird-lovers will adore this cozy, illuminating look into avian habitats."

– Booklist, February 2014, *STARRED REVIEW

"A practically perfect science picture book. Ward features a different kind of bird’s nest on each spread, with a four-line rhyming verse suitable for reading aloud on the left-hand pages, and a few sentences offering more information, at a higher reading level, on the right. Jenkins's colorful cut-paper collages, set against white backgrounds that emphasize their attention to detail, illuminate each of the birds' creations.... Equally excellent for classroom or storytime, this harmonious blend of text and illustrations executes a simple concept beautifully, in a manner that allows readers of various ages to approach the book in different ways."

– School Library Journal, February 2014

"A deceptively simple narrative structure reveals the myriad ways birds prepare for their offspring's arrival. . . . This excellent first science book doubles as a bedtime story."

– Shelf Awareness, March 2014

"From the title page, where a cactus is used as a wren's nest, to the final spreads where the reader realizes that a bed is a nest for a person, the young lap listener can celebrate nests of all sorts. . . . Budding bird lovers will find lots to appreciate, from woodpeckers and hummingbirds to cowbirds and penguins. Jenkins' cut-paper collages, so familiar in many other nature books, are stunning and make excellent use of white space. Ward’s light humor makes these short poems unforgettable."

– BookPage Feature, "The Bugs and the Birds," March 2014

"Using prose, poetry, and illustrations this book takes the reader into the fascinating world of birds and their nests. . . . The colorful and captivating pictures embellish the writing, pulling the elements together into a concise, informative piece on each bird and its nest. A note from the author and a listing of additional resources are provided for bird enthusiasts. This extremely well-thought out book will be enjoyed by all readers."

– Library Media Connection, October 2014, Highly Recommended

Awards and Honors
  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • Kansas State Reading Circle List PrimaryTitle
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List
  • Keystone to Reading Book Award Master List (PA)
  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee (AZ)
  • Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)
  • Colorado Book Award
  • NH Ladybug Picture Book Award Nominee
  • Wisconsin State Reading Association's Reading List
  • Washington State Towner Award Nominee
Resources and Downloads

Common Core Suggestion

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More books from this author: Jennifer Ward

More books from this illustrator: Steve Jenkins