Good Things Come In Threes! The Return of Zita the Spacegirl and The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland, 5-4-2013.m4v

Good Things Come In Threes! The Return of Zita the Spacegirl and The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland, 5-4-2013.m4v

The Last Forever and All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens, 5-3-14.m4v

THE LAST FOREVER and ALL MY NOBLE DREAMS reviewed by Nicole Claire –

The Last Forever and All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens, 5-3-14.m4v

NEST images ©2014 Jorey Hurley. Reproduced with permission from Simon & Schuster

Nest, by Jorey Hurley; Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 40 pages, ages 0-5.

Debut children’s book author and illustrator JoreyHurley has crafted a lovely book about the life cycle of a robin, while incorporating a look at the seasons and raising a family. Starting in spring, two robins build a nest, lay an egg, and the family grows alongside blooming leaves and blades of grass.  Hurley’s illustrations are sharp visual feasts, rendered entirely in Photoshop yet looking very much like paper collage.  Most illustrations are double spreads with one word defining the action.  Like many great children’s books nowadays, this one includes author’s notes where robin nesting and incubation habits are explored in greater detail for adult readers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST  images © 2014 Steve Jenkins. Reproduced with permission from Beach Lane Books 

Mama Built a Little Nest, by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins; Beach Lane Books, $16.99, 40 pages, ages 4-7.

Veteran nature writer Jennifer Ward (I Love Dirt!) teams up with Caldecott Honoree Steven Jenkins (What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?) to showcase the different ways birds build nests using all sorts of tufted materials. Each spread features a different bird with a read-aloud rhyme on the left, and supporting information for grownups and older readers on the right page. Jenkins’ masterful collages of woodpeckers, weaverbirds and wrens are large, bright and inviting. The author’s notes elaborate on the architectural ingenuity of nest building and also include resources for further avian exploration.

HAVE YOU HEARD THE NESTING BIRD images ©2014 Kenard Pak. Reproduced with permission from HMH Books for Young Readers 

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? By Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak; HMH Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 4-8.

Bird books are wonderful reasons to employ onomatopoeia, and Rita Gray’s latest foray in nonfiction joyfully employs this device. Written in rhyming call and response format, the story is at once active and calm, asking readers to step back and listen to the distinctive and musical sounds of nesting birds around them. Dreamworks artist Kenard Pak debuts as a book illustrator with lovely watercolors and digital media. Double page spreads of crows taking flight and robins sitting on their eggs evoke the soft, first-blush colors of spring. A mock interview with a mother bird (“A Word with the Bird”) cheerfully explains nesting bird behavior as well as best practices for human-avian interaction.   

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare


Image used with permission from The Folio Society

Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
(2.2 199-200)

The Folio Society has been preparing for William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday since 2006, when the renowned British fine books publishing house embarked on an ambitious project to print every tragedy, comedy and history in a large format, limited edition collection. The entire canon, including poems and sonnets, is now complete and color-coded by genre in individually numbered volumes. Zerkal deckle press paper, Moroccan leather binding and typeset in letterpress on hand-marbled paper, these books are a sumptuous tactile experience.

The series is a feast for the eyes as well; Shakespeare’s words stand alone, elegant and unobstructed by small margins and notes because the texts and commentaries are now in separate volumes. This affords readers the  delight of reading Shakespeare unencumbered by visual clutter.

Each page meets the Folio Society’s rigorous standards for quality and craftsmanship. These gems are also attractively priced at $545 per volume. Such beauty is fleeting – only three hundred copies of each volume exist.  What better way to celebrate the Bard’s birthday than by enjoying his work in such a wonderful manner.