Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"It's a Hummingbird's Life"

It’s a Hummingbird’s Life
Written and illustrated by: Irene Kelly
Published by: Holiday House in NY in 2003
ISBN: 0-8234-1658-5
Genre(s): Picture Book, Informational Text
Reading Level: Grade 3
Activity Level: Grade 2

Summary: This book chronicles the life of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird throughout the four seasons. It tells about their mating and nesting habits in the spring and how the young birds grow into adulthood. In the summer sections readers learn about how much these birds must eat each day (eight times their body weight). In the section on fall we learn about hummingbirds’ trip to Mexico for the winter, in which season they rest and become rejuvenated for their long trip back to the United States in the spring.

Response: I became really excited about this book when I realized how much I could learn from it. I learned that the size of a Hummingbird’s nest is only as big as half a ping pong ball, their eggs, which weigh less than one-half of a gram each take about fifteen to twenty days to hatch, and that the newborns feed every three minutes! I also learned that the mother hummingbird must eat 2,000 insects each day in order to feed her children. Furthermore, I also learned that Hummingbirds could fly upside down and are very much like helicopters in that they can lift themselves straight into the air.

The illustrations in this book were more cartoon-like than I typically care for, but at the same time they were interesting watercolor representations on double-paged spreads of these creatures. Nearly every page, in addition to the main illustration and text, also had a separate curved section of interesting information and subsequent illustrations keeping the readers’ interest very high.

Teaching Connections: A teacher could use this book in her second grade classroom. She could read this book to her class and then they could do activities such as making their own hummingbird nest making replicas of flowers that hummingbirds like, planting flowers outside their classroom, and putting Hummingbird feeders outside so the students to view the hummingbirds during the spring.

What Students Learn: From this book and these activities students learn many interesting facts about hummingbirds; they also get the opportunity to see them in their natural habitats.

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