Esmeralda's nest by Robert Moore
Illus. by Mandy Foot. Midnight Sun Publishing, 2020. ISBN:
(Ages: 2-5) Recommended. Accomplished illustrator Mandy Foot has teamed up with the diversely talented Robert Moore on this book about a Saddleback sow preparing a nest for her soon-to-be-born piglets. Interesting 'farm notes' are scrawled across the endpapers in child's handwriting, complete with accompanying scribbly drawings: 'Pigs eat anything, even shoelaces' and 'A farrowing hut is a safe place for a mother pig to have her piglets'. These facts also assist in explaining some of the words and items seen in the story, eg. gripple tool, belted galloway cow. Every day Esmeralda collects all manner of strange items that she digs up or finds on the farm: an old bottle, a plastic bag, wisteria and some trousers that blow off the clothes line. Off she waddles down the hill, ignoring the safety of the farrowing hut and building her own nest underneath the cattle ramp.
Gritty illustrations portray the windy, muddy, messy, rainy realities of farm life and the ever-changing conditions of life on the land. One day it is boiling hot, the next there is a torrential downpour. As Esmerelda builds her nest we see life on the farm going on around her. The farmer and his children are fencing, planting trees and playing with the new chicks. Children will find the illustrations funny as most of the repair work they are doing is due to Esmeralda pushing her way through fences and gates.
This is a lovely, simply told story about farm life and nesting animals that will also help children learn about the days of the week. Themes: Days of the week, Farms, Pigs.