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A Backyard Birding Adventure - What's in Your Yard? Review by Brittney Rutherford

Kermit Cummings
Brown Books Kids
16250 Knoll Trail, Suite 205
Dallas, TX 75248

A Backyard Birding Adventure - What’s in Your Yard? is a fun introduction to birding for younger children. Written by Kermit Cummings and published by Brown Books Kids, the book introduces us to ten common backyard birds and is written in rhyme.

The ten birds covered are the American Robin, Blue Jay, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Tufted Titmouse, and Mourning Dove. Focusing on common backyard birds is a great way to encourage children, because they are more likely to observe them naturally in their yard or neighborhood.

The first page spread looks like a father encouraging his son to go bird-watching, while the following two-page spreads each feature one bird. The verses tell us about their nesting habits, their diet, and their colorations. Each bird is featured in two ways. First, there is a small color photograph of the bird, so you can see its natural colors and appearance. Then there are the illustrations, by Holly Weinstein. The illustrations are characterized, and the birds are often engaging in acts that are true to the actual bird’s behavior. For instance, the Blue Jay, known as an aggressive bird, looks like he is running off nearby birds. I think this was a fun feature of the book. The book ends with the father and son ending their walk, and the suggestion to look for new birds on the next walk.

My younger children are currently three and five, and this book is ideal for them. The rhyming is fun, many of the birds are already familiar to us, or easy to learn, and the information is memorable. For instance, Mr. Mockingbird’s ever-changing song is mentioned, and my five-year-old recognized a Mockingbird in our backyard by song, because the song was constantly changing.

The book ends with a note to parents about birding. The author is a veteran birder, and shares information about feeders, bird baths, binoculars and learning how to identify birds, all for the beginner. For a parent with young kids, you might want to start with this book and one or two simple suggestions, just to encourage observation and interest. The book is hardcover and retails for $16.95. I would suggest that it is most appropriate for preschool and kindergarten ages. It is a simple, but fun book to encourage nature study and birding.

Product review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2018