Waiting for a Warbler (Hardcover)

Waiting for a Warbler By Sneed B. Collard, III, Thomas Brooks (Illustrator) Cover Image
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 Short listed for the Green Earth book award

In early April, as Owen and his sister search the hickories, oaks, and dogwoods for returning birds, a huge group of birds leaves the misty mountain slopes of the Yucatan peninsula for the 600-mile flight across the Gulf of Mexico to their summer nesting grounds. One of them is a Cerulean warbler. He will lose more than half his body weight even if the journey goes well. Aloft over the vast ocean, the birds encourage each other with squeaky chirps that say, “We are still alive. We can do this.”

Owen’s family watches televised reports of a great storm over the Gulf of Mexico, fearing what it may mean for migrating songbirds. In alternating spreads, we wait and hope with Owen, then struggle through the storm with the warbler.  

This moving story with its hopeful ending appeals to us to preserve the things we love. The backmatter includes a North American bird migration map, birding information for kids, and guidance for how native plantings can transform yards into bird and wildlife habitat.

About the Author

Science writer Sneed B. Collard III (Missoula, MT; www.sneedbcollardiii.com) is the author of more than 80 children’s books, including One Iguana, Two Iguanasand Catching Air. He has received the Washington Post Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award for his body of work, and his books are featured regularly in the Junior Library Guild, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book lists, and other best-of lists.

Thomas Brooks (Rockland, ME) illustrates natural history and wildlife subjects in a variety of mediums, with a focus on combining digital and traditional methods of image making. He has been an exhibit artist and scientific illustrator for several regional parks and nature centers and loves projects that combine education and fine art.

Praise For…

Waiting for a Warbler is perfect for young birdwatchers and nature lovers. They will likely want to return to it again and again.
— Roberta - Wrapped in Foil

In early spring, Owen and his younger sister, Nora, are outdoors talking about migratory birds in general and watching for her favorite, the cerulean warbler, in particular. The locale shifts from the U.S. or Canada to the Yucatán Peninsula, where many bird species, and one cerulean warbler male in particular, gather and prepare to migrate northward. The narrative traces the path of these birds as they make their way in a tiring migration that includes a perilous 18-hourflight over the Gulf of Mexico. Later, Owen and his family often watch two cerulean warblers as they arrive in spring, nest in a tall backyard tree, hunt for insects, and raise their young. A wildlife painter, Brooks illustrates a variety of subjects skillfully, from close-ups of individual birds to a stormy seascape. The book’s extensive back matter introduces novices to bird-watching and suggests ways of protecting birds. Written with a friendly tone, the text incorporates more facts than most fictional picture books. For kids who enjoy observing birds, here’s an informative introduction to bird-watching.

— Carolyn Phelan - Booklist

Mr. Collard, a prolific writer whose books often have a scientific bent, is also an avid birder. He and his son have a blog, Father Son Birding, and the book Warblers and Woodpeckers is based on their adventures.   In this book, illustrated in soft, nature tinted watercolors, we meet Owen and Nora, who are looking forward to seeing a cerulean warbler in their yard in the spring. They have made their yard an inviting place for the birds to visit, planting native trees and plants so that the birds will have enough insects to eat and places to stay. We also see the migration of the birds from the tropical forests to the US. When a storm threatens the Gulf of Mexico, the children worry that this might cause harm to many of the birds during their travels. Luckily, the cerulean warbler and other birds make it through, and Owen and Nora are able to observe them and take notes in their nature journals. End notes include information on birding, ways to help protect birds, and resource lists that include books and websites.  

Like his other excellent titles, Hopping Ahead of Climate Change: Snowshoe Hares, Science and Survival, Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever, and Fire Birds, Mr. Collard uses his talents to combine fiction with lots of information about environmental issues. This picture book is for younger readers than most of his books, but still presents information in a way that is easy to grasp. I'm a big proponent of teaching children about nature from a very young age; I have a bee garden in my library and have worked with the local parks department to donate native trees to the park behind my house. It's good to see a picture book that espouses environmental responsibility in such an engaging way. 

— Ms. Yingling - MMGM

Parallel stories converge in this fiction/information picture book on
bird migration.
— EB - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Product Details
ISBN: 9780884488521
ISBN-10: 0884488527
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Pages: 36
Language: English