Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems

If you've ever set out a hummingbird feeder to attract these fascinating backyard guests, you can imagine how memorable it would be to closely observe a hummingbird family from nest-building to the first flight of baby hummingbirds. What began as the journal detailing just such an exerience for one family eventually became Hummingbird Nest. Written by Kristine O'Connell George and illustrated by Barry Moser, Hummingbird Nest is a collection of poems chonicling the progress of a hummingbird mother and her two hatchlings. The book's inspiration was a mother hummingbird who decided the ficus tree on the author's front porch was a perfect place to build her nest one spring, a story George goes into in more detail about at the end of the book.

George's poems had a sweet simplicity that I enjoyed; They captured both the wonder and delight of observing the tiny jeweled birds while keeping a short, descriptive style befitting of an homage to hummingbirds. There are humorous observations (the mother hummingbird described as "a feathered missile streaking by" as she defends her territory), including two from the perspective of the dog and cat--neither of whom were very happy about this new visitor. The dog doesn't appreciate the bird using his water bowl as a bird bath; the cat is a bit disgruntled at being imprisoned in the house so as not to disturb the mother and offspring.

The illustrations are gorgeous. Moser captured the delicate beauty of these small birds with a deft artistic hand. This is a book that would be worth buying even if the story was missing. As it is, I've already flipped through it several times just to admire the paintings--an amazing combination of deep color and feathery lightness. Watercolor magic.

For more details on the book, visit the Kristine George's website, which contains a link to a poem and illustration from the book.