Bird builds a nest by Martin Jenkins

cover image

Ill. by Richard Jones. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406355130
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Birds, Building, Forces, STEM. The seemingly simple tale of a bird building its nest is given a wider emphasis as the author and illustrator explain forces through pushing and pulling, and how we use forces to move things.
The bird rises with the sun and goes to look for a worm to eat. The first one she finds it very large and despite all her effort at pulling it from its hole, she is unable to move it. In smaller type the rule of physics is given, that the stronger something is, the more force it can apply. The bird sets out to find another smaller worm and is successful. Bird then sets out to find some twigs to build her nest.
The one she chooses is too big and a law of physics is again given: that the more something weighs, the more force is needed to lift it. She finds some smaller twigs and fashions her nest, pushing the twigs together. Another law of physics is given: when you push something you are applying a force away from you. In dropping one of her twigs, the author then is able to tell the reader about gravity, and then when the nest is complete she is able to lay her eggs.
Children reading this book will come to understand the laws of forces through the simple act of a bird building its nest, illustrated in sepia tones rendered in blocks of colour reminiscent of collage and block print techniques. The illustrations add a level of humour as the readers eyes follow the antics of the bird in going about her business. At the end of the book is a small index, with questions to ponder about the forces explained in the book.
A wonderful introduction to discussions about the forces we use everyday.
Fran Knight