The Picture Book Buzz

The Home Builders - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

February 15, 2019

I love watching the birds and animals that frequent my yard. Last summer, year we were lucky to see babies of four woodpeckers (Pileated, Flicker, Downy, and Hairy), juncos, sparrows, wrens, and towhees. As for animals, we've heard baby coyotes learning to howl and occasionally seen fawns totter through. Most often we've watched baby rabbits and raccoons scramble around the yard. 

 

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the majority of them do not make their homes in my yard; but pass through on their search for food. For this week's #PPBF post, I found a picture book which introduces young children to the varied and fascinating homes of eight animals. One that might encourage them to look about their yard and surrounding area to see if they can spot animal babies and their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Home Builders

 

Author: Varsha Bajaj

 

Illustrator: Simona Mulazzani

 

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (2019)

 

Ages: 3-5 years

 

Fiction

 

Themes:

Animal homes, animal babies, and curiosity.

 

Synopsis:

This vibrantly illustrated picture book celebrates a variety of woodland creatures as they make their homes and prepare for their young.

Welcome to a serene woodland where lots of expectant animal parents are in their "nesting" phase--that is, busy preparing safe, cozy homes for their growing families. As they dig, tunnel, gnaw, and gather, they create dens, burrows, lodges, and, of course, nests. Soon the woods are full of new little ones peeping, crawling, romping, and snuggling--and with artwork so gorgeous that it feels like an invitation into the scenery it's depicting, readers will be eager to join them in their beautiful home.

 

Opening Lines:

Do you see the home builders?

 

Deep on the trail,

Beneath the mound,

Down by the water,

Safe off the ground.

 

Why I like this book:

Depicted through soft tones and star-lit skies, this rhyming story features a cast of home builders - tortoises, foxes, beavers, owls, moles, bees, deer, and eagles. 

Text © Varsha Bajaj, 2019. Image © Simona Mulazzani, 2019.

 

Using a series of questions, Varsha asks the reader to spot the animals, follow them as they build their nests, sleep, and raise their babies. She wraps up by noting that we all share this home called Earth.

Text © Varsha Bajaj, 2019. Image © Simona Mulazzani, 2019.

 

It is a gentle, soothing bedtime book, with parents and young nestled together for the night. Though not draw to scale or highly scientific, there are lots of moments in the illustrations (animals and plants above and below the soil of a garden) and text (how does an eagle "knit"?) that could spark a child's interest in knowing more about any or all of these animals (and maybe others) and their actions or homes. And begin a lifetime interest in science and responsible stewardship. 

 

Resources:

- what animals homes have seen around you? Even in the city there are many animals making homes, if you look (birds, worms, caterpillars, and maybe raccoons);

- create a diorama of an animal and its home. (An example of a beaver den diorama is here.); or

- read other books about animal homes and animal babies.

 

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

 

If you missed it, check out Varsha Bajaj's interview this past Monday (here).

 

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