The first year in the life of a Steller’s jay is recounted, with a focus on the Southwest ponderosa pine forest and other animals that live there.
Jabber is one of four baby birds born in the, apparently, spring, and the story follows her development as she grows feathers, learns to fly, and hunts for her own food. Jabber is shown in relation to several other birds and to animals such as a chipmunk, a mountain lion, and a porcupine. By the following spring, Jabber is fully mature, building a nest with her mate in preparation for laying her own eggs. The story is rather sedate, doing its best to derive dramatic tension from the difficulties of finding food and protection from other birds and animals. Three final pages provide information about the other birds and animals encountered by Jabber. A full page of dedications and acknowledgments precedes the text, space readers may feel might have been better used to include more pertinent facts about Steller’s jays, such as the origin of the name, distinction from more common blue jays, habitat location, and interesting characteristics such as their ability to mimic the vocalizations of other birds. Illustrations in colored pencil provide appealing backgrounds of the forest environment, but many views of the birds and animals are static and fail to depict interesting actions described in the text.
A well-intentioned effort that fails to take flight. (Informational picture book. 5-8)