"My Tiny Life by Ruby T. Hummingbird" by Paul Meisel (Holiday House, April 13), ages 4-8, 40 pages, $17.99
Part of the series A Nature Diary, this delightful picture book illustrates the cute and speedy parts of a hummingbird's life. Each development is represented as a dated entry in a diary kept by our narrator, Ruby T.
Ruby T. begins his story: "Today I poked my way out of this tiny egg." We don't know what went on to put him inside that egg. Also left out is the part where he sleeps like the dead or keels over actually dead; and at no point is there any suggestion that a preying mantis might grab him at a birdfeeder and eat his brain.
It’s Natural Science Lite. Yeah!
The story also celebrates these birds' ferocious aerial combat, depicting it as spats that resolve into uneasy truces.
But, fear not, adults will have plenty of questions to answer about the pace of hummingbird development.
Explaining time is difficult when children are still mastering number facts, so I suggest adults keep a calendar nearby while reading. The visual aid will help kids appreciate how little time it takes this species to reach adulthood and how long it takes each bird to migrate thousands of miles over open water.
Other books in the series are "My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis," "My Happy Year by E. Bluebird" and "My Stinky Summer by S. Bug." The last one is about a stinkbug, a species nobody seems curious about — except my cats, who greet its seasonal appearances with sincere interest.
The publisher has free activity sheets; see arkansasonline.com/712hum.
Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.