Humingbirds are always welcome in the garden and many of us grow plants just to attract them. Cathryn Sill’s book, About Hummingbirds, is a very nice way to introduce young children to these fascinating birds and perhaps inspire in them a love of birds in general. Aimed at children from pre-school and up, the book covers the characteristics common to all humming birds as well as the unique attributes of many of the different species of hummingbirds.
The main text is simple and straightforward so that it appeals to the preschoolers; each two page spread contains a single fact on the left side and a full page illustration on the right showing and indentifying a particular hummingbird. We see a ruby-throated hummingbird first and continue with less common ones such as booted Racquet-tail, velvet-purple Coronet, frilled Coquette, black-breasted Puffleg, and great Sapphirewing. We learn about breeding habits, enemies, coloration, habitats, the different shapes and sizes of the birds’ beaks and how hummers move around. Did you know that hummingbirds can’t walk but use their feet for perching? An “Afterward” reproduces each picture in the text and provides in depth information suitable for older children such as the geographical location, nest building habits, and the ways hummers hunt and catch insects and spiders. This is the kind of book that can be read over and over, adding more detail as the child’s interest grows.