Beautifully balancing fact and fiction, ‘Hummingbird’ focuses on the ruby-throated hummingbird. The story starts with a grandmother and her granddaughter waiting in their garden for the ‘Tz-unun’ or ‘zun-zun’ (the name for hummingbirds in several Central and South American countries) to arrive and feed. Like the little girl, Granny says they will soon be flying north. The reader then follows these incredible little birds on their migration until they arrive in New York where the little girl finds part of their egg shell. She then completes the cycle by sending this to her grandmother with a cutting from the newspaper about hummingbirds nesting in Central Park for the first time.


Produced in association with the RSPB, the story is supplemented with factual notes about various aspects of the ruby-throated hummingbird’s life. An index is included to enable readers to locate this information with ease and a bibliography of further reading is also suggested. Additional notes about these incredible creatures at the beginning and end of the book offer information about how scientists study them. It is truly fascinating!


The story also reminds us all of the importance of nature as the beauty of these birds captures the attention and interest of many on their journey, spreading the joy of nature as they go. A student forgets his work for a moment as he shares the beauty of the hummingbird with his mother; a family forget the normal distractions of daily life as they share the joy of hummingbirds visiting their homemade feeder. The story offers a sense of love - of human to human as well as for nature.


Jane Ray’s illustrations are as beautiful as ever. Rich colours and delicate detail bring each scene to life, celebrating the beauty of these birds and the world we live in. She also captures those human relationships- the grandmother and her granddaughter nestled together, the sisters enjoying a special memory, an elderly man and his younger companion sharing a walk in the park with a dog- each of these relationships speaks volumes through her beautiful paintings.

A stunning book about these fascinating birds, ‘Hummingbird’ is a treasure of a book which has great potential for using in school as well as being enjoyed by those wanting to discover more. Just beautiful.

Hummingbird Nicola Davies, illustrated by Jane Ray

Walker Books ISBN: 978-1406379273

Flying High!

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Winner of the 2015 NSTBA Poetry Category with 'Buzzing', Anneliese Emmans Dean has created another fabulous collection of poems- this time, all about British birds. Grouped by season, the poems celebrate our feathered friends whilst 'Bird Box' and 'Egg Head' fact files offer additional information.


The book contains poems about all our favourite garden birds, in a range of forms. The beautiful photography perfectly frames the poems, (except for the Little Owl clutching the dead creature!) Each poem is perfect for performing, with playful language choices. They could be used for individual performances or group presentations. Many could inspire children to compose their own poems, perhaps learning more about one of these wonderful creatures on the way. 


The additional information offered with each poem is fascinating, perfect for finding out more about each bird whilst enjoying the poem. The bird's classification is also included which is very useful for the Year 6 classification work in science where 'pupils might find out about the significance of the work of scientists such as Carl Linnaeus, a pioneer of classification'. The size of each is also included, making it easy to compare and contrast the different species.

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A delightful selection of poems which will lead children to find out more about the birds in our gardens. Brilliant!

Flying High! Anneliese Emmans Dean

Brambleby Books     ISBN: 978-1908241504

You can read our review of 'Buzzing' here.