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Mama Built a Little Nest

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,036 ratings  ·  191 reviews
A delightful exploration of the incredibly variety of nests birds build for their babies, illustrated by a Caldecott Honoree.

Mama built a little nest
inside a sturdy trunk.
She used her beak to tap-tap-tap
the perfect place to bunk.

There are so many different kinds of birds—and those birds build so many different kinds of nests to keep their babies cozy. With playful, bouncy
ebook, with audio recording, 40 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Beach Lane Books (first published March 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,036 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Katt Hansen
Ooooh...poetry that's fun and easy to read, with more details about nests hidden in the corners for the parents to share or not share. It's so much fun to learn about all the different nest types. The pictures are simple and convey the ideas well, and make me want to hunt for nests outside now that I know what to look for. :) ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully illustrated and simple text that allows the youngest nature enthusiasts to discover the wonders of birds, their nests, and their babies.
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more Picture book reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

A book exploring the different materials and places that a variety of birds build their nests. Rhyming verse for the child to read paired with explanations for the adults.

This book caught my eye right away. I loved the cut paper nature of the drawings and how they captured the unique locations and materials for the nests. My nephew quite enjoyed the different nests and learning about the birds.

The problem with the book lay in the o
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
With rhyming text, Jennifer Ward reveals the art of nest making and the diversity of nests - locations, materials, etc. Each two-page layout features one bird like the woodpecker, the cowbird, the wren. There is the rhyming text in a larger print, and then is also a caption, in smaller print, with more detailed, non-rhyming text about that particular bird's nest making. The illustrations by Steve Jenkins support the details described in the text. The author's note at the end is worthy of reading ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am currently interning in a school library and wanted to book to read to the kids as part of an activity about birds. I definitely now want to use this book for a few reasons. The illustrations are beautiful and simple enough that the kids can see what is going on without having to be right on top of the book. There is just enough information to let the kids know what is going on in each picture, but not so many words that they might get bored while I read each page. There is some additional i ...more
Jul 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. I can't quite give it five stars, as that rating is for books I'd recommend to everybody. But I do highly recommend this picture-book for fans of birds, and of art, as well as for families and other educators. If I'd discovered it when my kids were little, we probably would have bought our own copy. Author's note and list of further resources included. ...more
I learned so much about birds from this beautifully illustrated book! Plus, the text is well-written and fascinating
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
Both simple and informative with poems and pretty pictures.
Apr 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a super fun book. We learned so much about birds nest and other fascinating facts about bird nests. I won’t give away the facts.
Olivia Rullman
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mama Built a Little Nest explores the complex meaning of "home" and how it can look different from bird to bird, or even person to person. Ward uses vivid images and descriptive rhyming words to explain how each unique nest is constructed by its' species. Throughout the book, the mother, sometimes alongside the father, is pictured creating a safe homestead, whether it be silky, muddy, made from sticks or spit, for the offspring. In addition to the author's playful, light-hearted words, she provi ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
A few things i learned from this book:

1. A hummingbird uses spiderweb so the little nest will stretch as the chicks grow.
2. The cowbird, whydah, and cuckoo find a nest built by another bird species. They lay their eggs in it and fly off, leaving their eggs in the care of the bird who built the nest.
3. The swiftlet makes an edible nest using tube-shaped saliva, which hardens in the air. Swiftlet nests are used in bird's nest soup, a Chinese delicacy.

Who knew?!
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Wonderful illustrations and the rhyming entries are generally good. I thought the factual entry on each page was difficult to read, type often lost in the illustration. The final page about a human "nest" being a bed was both inaccurate and overly sentimental. ...more
Juli Anna
Apr 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Cute, and fantastic collaged illustrations. The bedtime bid at the end was a bit weak.
Darcy Grabenstein
Yolen, J., & Stemple, H. (2015). You nest here with me. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill Press.

Reading Rockets. (2017). Concept sorting. Retrieved from

You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, is an endearing story in rhyme that compares a child going to bed with birds nesting. The authors use a wide variety of birds in the story allowing students to see common birds that they may be familiar with, as well as birds that may be new or unfamilia
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book
Theme: Birds, Nesting, Shapes and Sizes
Grade level: Prek-2nd
Awards: Notable Children's Books, 2015

Summary- Mama built a little nest and the nest was built inside a sturdy trunk. This book shows how different types of birds build their nests in different ways and this makes all the birds unique in their own way. One bird is the hummingbird, which makes its nest in a small cup form. The book also talks about birds like the woodpecker, the cowbird, the emperor pengui
David Kuriny
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As a kid who actually said "I want to be an ornithologist when I grow up," I loved reading this book. "Mama Built a Little Nest" is a poetic story about how certain birds build their nests. This book has been nominated for the Keystone to Reading Book Award for Primary, as well as the Colorado Book Award for Children's Literature. The colorful and artistic illustrations do so much more in instructing a child on birds' nesting habits than a textbook would, and encourages a child to pay closer att ...more
Jameelah Murray
Aug 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward associates with the genre of nonfiction. The book won the Colorado Book Award — Children’s literature in 2015. The book explores the species of birds and the process of how they build bird nests for their babies. It gives insight into educating kids about different birds and their habitats. The age group for the book is intended for young preschoolers to fourth grade but I would say it’s easy for all ages to follow along. I rated this story a five becaus ...more
Nyapot Hogan
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Content-area crossover -Science
Twin Text: Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin and Rob Dunlavey
"Owl Sees Owl" Is a story about a baby owl who leaves his nest at night to go exploring. Leaving his Mama, brother, and sister he flies past the trees, the beautiful autumn leaves, past the light of the moon and to the pond where he sees his reflection, gets scared and flies back to his nest with his Mama, Brother, and Sister.

I would do a K-W-L chart for this one because "Mama Built a Little Nest" is about the
Kylie Bean
Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a wonderful book that describes the different nests birds make for their eggs. The book has rhyming text for the storyline and each picture has an additional text informing the reader what type of bird it is and some more information about the nest. For example, the swiftlet makes its nest with saliva and are used in bird’s nest soup, which is a delicacy in China. Many types of nests are represented here. Some of the birds covered are the woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, falcon, burrowi ...more
Jennifer Heise
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Charming illustrations, good choice of subjects, and a rhyming text make this a great read on birds and nests. Pair with An Egg Is Quiet and A Nest Is Noisy:, as well as Feathers for Lunch. ...more
Jun 11, 2020 added it
Shelves: informational
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judah Copeland
The book starts with the nesting habits of a variety of birds in a cool fun poem. This takes place from the point of view of the baby bird. Lots of surprising facts about where birds raise their young on ledges, inside holes in trees, hanging off branches, burrowing underground, floating on water, and what materials they use, from grass and twigs to spit and spiderwebs. Each spread offers a four-line poem on the left-hand page and a couple of lines or a paragraph of factual information on the ri ...more
Kynleah Bancroft
Apr 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
Mama Built a Little Nest is a story about interesting facts about birds and their nests. The rhyming element makes this story a great read aloud but still very proper and full of knowledge. One thing I would change about this book would be the title. I feel like this would be primarily aimed toward mothers when it could actually be for either parent, considering it mentions fathers in the process of building a nest. I love how realistic the illustrations are too, although they are drawings they ...more
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's both a pretty picture book and a non-fiction book in one. The different birds that are included are highlighted because they each have different kinds of nests and habitats; in addition to the pictures and rhyming text there are factual / informational inserts. The book can get a bit long so I skipped some of the pages on some readings. The ending is nice (if reading at bedtime) as it ends with a child's nest (their bed). ...more
Sandy Brehl
This appealing picture book combines rhyming verses, parallel informative text, and "aw"-inspiring illustrations to convey specific details and reveal a broader concept about the what, how, and why of nests. There are many ways in which this book serves as mentor text for conveying factual content in verse, for extending information in concise text, for organizing of the overall content in relation to each component, and for drawing satisfying conclusions. ...more
Courtney Thrift
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mama built a little nest is from the perspective of a baby bird. It talks about parent birds building a nest or even borrowing nest. It explains materials birds use for their "home".

I love the poetry used to write this book! It keeps non-fiction fun for students!

I think it would be fun to build a "nest" along with this book in the classroom. It would also be a great time to introduce different habitats for different animals.
Jenny Hartfelder
We really enjoyed the rhymes that described each unique nest. Each page also includes a short description about the bird that builds that nest. Sometimes the descriptive paragraph in these types of books can be too long and become distracting, but these felt like a nice length with just the right amount of info. Illustrations are excellent and show each bird's distinctive features accurately. This non-fiction book was well-designed for the early elementary crowd. ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite lessons where students can study different nest and then create them. I use a lot of different examples, as well as artist like Andy Goldsworthy and other environmental artists to introduce them to creating nest. This book is great, there are little poems for each nest, as well as footnotes to explore.
Kelly Case Burroughs
This is a wonderful book about bird families and the types of intricate nests that these birds build. I will be using it as part of a science unit where my students will create their own birds nest. Aside from the pleasant rhyme throughout the book, there is also factual information offered and beautiful illustrations. It will be a permanent addition to my
Classroom Science Library.
Gabrielle Stoller
A nonfiction text yet one that also has storytime capabilities. I realized that I need to use this one! Children learn so so much with books like these--or so I have found. I don't want to be hit over the head with facts but "Mama Built a Little Nest" does it in a subtle way.

So be prepared to learn about all the different types of nests different birds make. Some are made from spit. LOL
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Jennifer Ward is the author of more than 25 award-winning nonfiction and fiction books for children and adults.

Her books have been translated into many languages and featured in Martha Stewart's Living, Ranger Rick, on NPR, television's Animal Planet network, and on many popular blogs such as Soule Mama.

Most of Jennifer's books are inspired by science and nature and artfully combine elements of ST

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