Singleton compares the activities of a sandhill crane and a construction crane to teach simple vocabulary and to enable readers to observe similarities between two very different things.
Bird and machine are engaged in parallel activities. The bird is building a nest; the crane is building a house for a young couple with a baby on the way. Thus the story is skillfully shifted from the machine to the human story of the baby being born. The only text consists of simple, sometimes onomatopoeic verbs scattered through the pages as the bird and crane “lift” objects; “stretch” their appendages; “honk”; choose, “grab,” and “stack” building materials; and “sway” in a tempestuous wind. Finally the house is built and the nest is complete, and the occupants of both move in. A crane chick hatches from an egg, and a baby is born in the new house. Both families are at peace in their new dwellings. The final word on the page is a noun: “Home.” Smythe’s shimmering watercolor-and-crayon illustrations convey the charming subtext of the nonverbal story of the crane family nesting and hatching and the white human family for whom the house is being built.
This charming and original book offers much for young readers and their caregivers to talk about as well as encouraging comparison and simile skills. (Picture book. 3-6)