Linda P. Young has written a warm series of adventures starring two young hummingbirds named Anna and Andy. With help from the “Nice Lady” and her husband, who tend their feeders, these curious little birds thrive and grow.
This picture book is actually a series of five, short, interconnected adventures. In the first story, we meet Momma Hummingbird patiently waiting for her eggs to crack. In this beginning adventure, readers learn how a mother hummingbird nurtures her babies in their first month of life. In the second story, the little birds gain independence. Momma still feeds them but leaves them alone at night. They grow quickly. Anna almost falls out of the tree, but the Nice Lady’s husband saves the day by nudging her back into the nest.
The third story, “Bugs and Nectar with Anna and Andy,” shows how the birds learn to fly, hunt and feed themselves. In “The Art of Playing with Anna and Andy,” the birds play tag and hide and seek. In the final adventure, our heroes cleverly defend their territory from two bigger hummingbird bullies. In the end, Anna and Andy decide to stay in their backyard home for the winter.
Each of the five stories in this collection will engage the interest of preschoolers. The text is simple and concise. The book design is crisp, and the illustrations by Juli Hasegawa are lively and bright. The addition of little mouths on the faces of the hummingbirds might have allowed for more expressive interaction between the characters and with young readers. Also, Momma Hummingbird simply disappears after the second story, which may trouble some children.
All in all, though, this is a charming introduction to the joys of backyard bird-watching for the preschooler set.