A Home in the Park: A Family of Brahminy Kites

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What is it?

A picture book.

Who is it by?

Story by Roselyn Chuah, illustrations by Teh Yew Kiang and published by MPH.

What is it about?

The story unfolds in a park where a pair of Brahminy Kites are about to welcome a new chick. They find a casuarina tree to build a nest in as they await the arrival of their new baby. They diligently guard the egg until it hatches.

Many of the other birds in the park want to get to know Junior better and up close but Mama and Papa protect their baby from potential threats and dangers.

As Junior grows up, changes occur at the park with men filling the pond to build on it. Mama warns Papa to be careful about the food he brings home as some dead fishes were found floating in the water.

One day, Papa falls ill and dies. It is now up to Mama to single-handedly take care of Junior. Some of the other birds who see Papa fall to his death sympathise with Mama and Junior as they too have lost family members due to man’s evil ways.

One day, Junior is old enough to leave the nest and it is soon taken over by crested goshawks. Junior and Mama fly off in search of another tree to build their nest in.

What can children learn from it?

There are the different birds which can be found in a park. Among them are the jungle crow, white-throated kingfisher, spotted dove, brahminy kite and crested goshawk.

Kids will also learn about why it’s important not to cut down the trees and the effects of development on the animals.

There are teaching points about death, destruction, family and community.

What did I like about it?

The birds are illustrated beautifully, each one looking distinct and showing off outstanding features. There are two pages at the back of the book with pictures and names of each bird so that children (and parents) can identify them.

It is important that we don’t forget the names of birds. If we are able to identify them, we might be more prone to appreciating each one, their beauty and role in this world of ours. There was a time when more people were able to identify even the simple pigeons, crows, eagles, kites and doves. Today, more often than not, we refer to them all as just birds. This book reminds us to take time to appreciate each species.

Author Roselyn Chuah, an amateur birdwatcher by her own admission, and Teh Yew Kiang, a full-time wildlife artist, have done a highly-commendable job with this beautiful book. I highly recommend every family obtain a copy, not just for the kids, but the adults as well.

Where to get it?

Available at major bookstores.

Should you get it?

Yes.