You Nest Here with Me is a beautiful, lyrical picture book by the mother daughter team of Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple. Illustrated (perfectly) by Melissa Sweet.
It’s a book about birds.
What? You say that’s not enough?
Okay then— It rhymes. It rhymes brilliantly. The back flap copy on the book states that Jane Yolen has written “350 plus books” (practice makes perfect?). She co-wrote this book with her daughter and the rhythm and rhyme are spot on, clever, and unexpected. It is a lovely poem about birds’ nesting habits and each stanza ends with the musical, repeating refrain, “but you nest here with me,” it’s lovely.
But add a little more, please?
Okay, if the beautiful poem isn’t enough, how about that it teaches you things? Really interesting things like that the Killdeer bird pretends it has a broken wing to lure predators away from its nest.
This writer-team takes us through all the different places that birds nest and teaches young readers and would-be bird watchers about their habitats. All while rhyming mind you!
How about adding some amazing illustrations by amazing illustrator, Melissa Sweet? Melissa brilliantly pulls out the defining characteristics of the different species of birds basing them in realism, but injecting them with her style and character. The birds are full of personality without becoming cartoonish. They aren’t stiff and her landscapes shift in palette to reflect the birds’ varied climates and locations. I love Melissa’s beautiful collage work, and she’s the master of it, but I enjoyed that in this book we see more of her gestural drawing skills that need nothing more than a washy sweep of chartreuse to become a crinkled blade of grass.
What? More? Now you’re just getting greedy.
But, okay, there’s some fun back matter to answer all your questions about birds and nesting. Questions that you didn’t know you had until you read this story.
And if you really need the cherry on the whipped cream…
this is a go-to-gorgeous bedtime story. Just the way every parent wants their child to feel when they kiss them goodnight…
“you nest here with me”
Seriously, people, don’t you think that’s more than enough?