Review Blog

Mar 15 2012

Our nest is best! by Penny Olsen with Penny O'Hara

cover image

National Library of Australia, 2012. ISBN 9780642277374.
(Age: Pre-School - 7) Recommended. The National Library of Australia aims 'to interpret and highlight the Library's collection' and it certainly does this in its book for young readers, Our nest is best. The beautiful illustrations by Neville Henry Cayley (1853-1903), Ebenezer Edward Gostelow (1866-1944), and Betty Temple Watts (1901-1992), all artists from the past who have made magnificent illustrations of birds found in Australia, are featured in this lovely little story. Ruby and Rocky Robin are searching for the best nest for them to build. In their quest they look at the nests of magpies, owls, fairy-wrens, emus, kookaburras, reed-warblers, and grebes and decide that their nest is best, although all the other nests are just right for the birds that build them.
The text by Penny Olsen, with Penny O'Hara, is charming and should appeal to young children who are just being introduced to Australian birds. The nests that the two little robins look at are exquisite coloured drawings, usually showing how the nest is constructed, but also has pictures of the baby birds, often with their mouths wide open to receive food from their parent. The drawings from the three different artists are incorporated into the book and don't look as if they are separate plates. At the end of the book, the reader is given instructions on how to access them in the National Library of Australia collection. You need to go to Catalogue in Websites A-Z. This is a fabulous way to look at primary sources for young children.
This will be a wonderful way for children and their adult carers to learn about Australian birds, their appearance, nests and habitat, gathered together in an appealing book.
Pat Pledger

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