Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Not your nest! by Gideon Sterer, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi

Any kid that is being forced to share will appreciate this mischievous story about a diligent little bird and the animals who keep appropriating her nests.

A small yellow bird is just finishing her perfect nest... when she discovers it has been co-opted by a hoopoe! "You can build another" he says. Slightly annoyed, the bird builds another from scratch... and a fox takes it! Another nest, built by an even more annoyed bird, gets taken over by a warthog! The story builds to a ridiculous scene with the tree full of nests and Bird loses it and evicts EVERYONE. Sadly, this destroys all her nests and when she looks miserably at the resulting chaos, saying "this WAS my nest" the animals feel guilty - and build a huge nest, just for her. Bird kindly invites them all to share the new nest, and in a last aside builds her own cozy little nest away from the snoring animals!

I felt like this was a different art style than the work I've seen before from Tsurumi; it still has that cartoon humor, but it's more sketchy and realistic and less of the minimal lines and figures of her other work. It's also one of my newest, favorite books and a hilarious take on the Little Red Hen, even if nobody besides me gets it. It always drives me crazy that most of the retellings take out the original ending and have her sharing, even though the animals did none of the work! The outraged bird and her charging buffalo was deeply satisfying - especially when the animals fixed their mistake and all ended happily! And the part where Bird gets her own nest in the end! I can't wait to add this one to my storytime repertoire and to my funny read-alouds that are kind of naughty list!

Verdict: A much more nuanced view of sharing, perfect for kindergarteners and some preschoolers who can think about sharing as more complex than just "give the other kid what they want because they asked." There's also the additional element of identifying the different animals! It's ridiculous, satisfying, and funny - all the things needed for the perfect storytime book.

ISBN: 9780735228276; Published March 2019 by Dial; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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