Perfect Picture Book Friday gets close to nature.

Growing up in the country, nature surrounded me. Nature nested in sturdy branches, burrowed holes in my mother’s garden, nibbled juicy mulberries in the woods, made a cozy home beneath rotted logs, and glistened after a summer rain. Nature also found its way into our house where it climbed up the windows (thousands of ladybugs), thought it was okay to share my pillow (a long, hairy millipede), and nestled on the windowsill to dry its wings after hatching in my bedroom (a luna moth).

When I was about ten, I spotted a wasp nest under construction above our front door. Instead of swatting it down with the kitchen broom, my mother introduced nature to me as the precious gift it is. She brought out a pair of garden chairs from the garage and set them up within five feet of the wasps. That afternoon, we watched the winged architects increase the size of their home while we sipped iced tea and enjoyed the amazing show.

Watching nature is at the heart of today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review.

Title – On Bird Hill – view on Amazon HERE.

Written by – Jane Yolen

Illustrated by – Bob Marstall

Published by – The Cornell Lab Publishing Group – 2016

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  observation, nature, birds,

Opening –

As I was walking on Bird Hill,

Though it was day, the moon shone still.

And on Bird Hill, I saw a tree,

As light and bright as it could be.

Why do I like this book? This rhyming picture book is written and illustrated in an amazing way. The reader begins with a broad view of nature. Then, page after page we are made aware that something wonderful is about to happen as we are moved in closer and closer to the big moment (which I will not spoil for you).

Learn more about Jane Yolen HERE.

Learn more about Bob Marstall HERE.

Until next Friday!


  1. Ann Wendel

    I love your mother’s reaction to the wasp’s nest. She was a wise woman!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Thanks, Ann, What I remember most about that afternoon was needing to dash off with my dad to run a quick errand and coming back home to see the amazing progress those wasps made to their nest.

  2. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_)

    The wasps are amazing architects. I too like this book, both for its inherent love of nature and its amazing rhythm and rhyme.

  3. ptnozell

    Love Bird Hill! Great choice for the start of summer! Can’t say I’ve ever gotten that close to a wasp nest, unless you count the time I leaned into one while resting during a hike. My arm ballooned & eyes swelled shut. As I now am certified allergic, I think I’ll enjoy your reminiscences from a distance!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Oh my gosh! What a terrible experience with wasps! I’m in pain just reading your description. I had to laugh, though, at you enjoying my reminiscences from a distance. 🙂

  4. viviankirkfield

    Jane Yolen? Enough said! 😉
    Love the simple rhyme that every child can relate to! Yay for nature books…and great review, Leslie!

    • Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer

      Thank you, Vivian, Yes, any book written by Jane Yolen is a winner. After checking out On Bird Hill, I came across two other books in this series: On Duck Pond and On Gull Beach. All three are so thoughtfully written.