Long ago, when the world was young, the magpies' nests were the envy of all other birds. To help the other birds, Maggie Magpie patiently explained how to build a nest. But some birds were impatient and flew off without listening to all the directions which is why, to this day, birds' nests come in all different shapes and sizes. This clever retelling of an old English folktale features birds native to the US and teaches the importance of careful listening.
Written by Doris L. Mueller Illustrated by Sherry Neidigh
32 pg, 10 x 8.5, Ages 4-8, Grades PK-3 Lexile: AD 830, AR: 4.1, RC: P, F&P: N
Hardcover ISBN: 9781934359099, $16.95 Paperback ISBN: 9781934359259, $8.95
Educator Keywords: adapted story, The Magpie Nest, birds, plant-animal interaction, nest building, following directions, life science, adaptations, plant/animal interaction
“An enticing first sentence, ‘Long ago, when the world was young, only the magpie knew how to built a nest,’ pulls readers and listeners into this tale of why birds build the kind of nest they do. Without being didactic, the lesson rings clear that it is important to listen to all of what is being taught. The illustrator’s soft, realistic pictures mesh well with the text to make a winning product.” - Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database
“[The Best Nest] is a wonderful book for children and should also be in every school library.” - Armchair Interviews
“This is a clever story. It will remind you of reading a fable or folktale, but it is full of specific detail about how various species of birds build their nest. This picture book offers information about birds wrapped in a fictional tale. The illustrations are finely detailed, and there is a matching game at the end that offers additional information to expand the learning.” - The Reading Tub
Doris L. Mueller (pronounced Miller) (The Best Nest) was a teacher and professor at every level from kindergarten through graduate school. Some of her previous books include a picture book, Small One’s Adventure, a middle-grade novel, Marryin’ Sam, and a biography, M. Jeff Thompson: Missouri’s Swamp Fox. Doris recalled that whenever she failed to listen to instructions, her mother would tell her an Old English Tale of how, when the magpie tried to teach the birds how to build a beautiful, strong nest like hers, all but one failed to attend to her instructions and went off to build inadequate nests. She retold the story, substituting birds native to the US, and added factual information telling how various birds build their nests for The Best Nest. Doris lived with her husband on a small lake outside of St. Louis and had many bird visitors at their bird feeders—woodpeckers, humming birds, nuthatches, and goldfinches, among others. Their own children are grown and have flown the nest.
Sherry Neidigh, a graduate of Ringling School of Art and Design, has been freelasnce illustrating for over twenty years. Sherry's love of animals and nature comes through in her bright, colorful art. In addition to illustrating Count Down to Fall(Fall 2009) and The Best Nest for Sylvan Dell, Sherry has illustrated several trade and education titles including Who Needs That Nose?, If I Had a Tail, and Black and White. Sherry lives in South Carolina. Visit Sherry's website.