What Bluebirds Do
by Pamela F. Kirby

Price at time of review: $18.95
48 pp.
Boyds Mills Press
Honesdale, PA
ISBN: 9781590786147

Grade Level: K-2

Reviewed by Suzanne Mecouch
K-12 Supervisor of Science

Reading for information is a skill every student should master. And finding accurate, detailed, authentic, engaging trade books is a task every teacher and librarian should tackle. What Bluebirds Do is an exemplary nonfiction trade book that could be used by teachers as a read-aloud, by elementary students as a read-alone, or by reluctant readers as a picture book.  It was selected as an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010.

Three types of bluebirds live in North America. This is the story of an actual pair of Eastern bluebirds that built a nest in the author’s backyard. The book describes clearly and accurately how this pair of bluebirds met, mated, laid eggs, hatched the eggs, and raised their chicks. Each two-page spread includes at least one large color photograph of the bluebirds engaged in the activity being described by the text.

The birds' activities, photographed by the author herself, are just beautiful. Photographs include one of the chicks watching a wasp and another of the male just before he lands to bring food to the nesting female. Appropriate scientific vocabulary is woven into the storyline. Two pages are devoted to an overview of how human behaviors before 1978 endangered bluebird populations and how since 1978 the actions of concerned citizens have saved the bluebirds.

Readers are given suggestions for interacting with nature without causing harm. Along with ideas for attracting bluebirds to your yard, a short discussion of the three types of bluebirds found in North America are included at the back of the book. The author also lists several informational websites, reference books, and a glossary.

Review posted on 8/11/2009

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