My animal teachers

Thurber, Sy and a happy hen.
Thurber, Sy and a happy hen.

My animal teachers. Betsy Groban interviewed Sy about Becoming a Good Creature for the Boston Globe:

Q: You assert in the book that animals can be great teachers for kids. Can you say more about that?

A: Humans have been important in my life — I even married one. But animals, too, have been essential as friends, mentors, teachers, inspiration. My first dog, Molly, showed me what I wanted to do with my life: learn the secrets of animals. Three emus showed me the path to do so: to follow wild animals wherever they were, and tell their stories. A pig showed me that family is not made out of genes, but love. An ermine taught me forgiveness. This doesn’t mean that humans don’t make good teachers, but it’s great to reassure both kids and grownups that teachers are everywhere, not just in the classroom, and they don’t all have two legs and opposable thumbs.

AudioFile likes Sy’s reading of The Hummingbird’s Gift for the audio-book: “Montgomery’s warm and intimate delivery makes listeners care about each development and setback. And her descriptions of these tiny marvels will almost certainly inspire you to step outside and observe the natural world with a new appreciation.”

And you can watch Sy talking about the new hummingbird book here. Thurber is also here to help.

Hummingbirds Coast to Coast. The Hummingbird’s Gift has debuted at number nine on the hardcover nonfiction bestseller list of the New England Independent Booksellers Association. And the new book is Number 4 on the Sonoma-Index’s Nonfiction Hardcover Bestseller List.

South American Crowned Wood Nymph. Photo by Tianne Wirtanen
South American Crowned Wood Nymph. Photo by Tianne Wirtanen

Hovering at the Edge of the Possible. On her Brainpickings website Maria Popova has written a paean to humming birds: “Between Science and Magic: How Hummingbirds Hover at the Edge of the Possible. How a tiny creature faster than the Space Shuttle balances the impossible equation of extreme fragility and superhuman strength.”

Her focus is Sy’s new hummingbird book. Maria Popova writes:

“We have The Hummingbirds’ Gift to widen us with wonder at the seeming impossibility of these fragile, fierce marvels of nature — and to render us wondersmitten with the hope that if individual humans are capable of bring individual hummingbirds back to life from the brink of death, then perhaps our entire species is capable of rehabilitating an entire planet; perhaps we are capable of a great deal more care and tenderness than we realize toward the myriad marvelous creatures with whom we share the ultimate cosmic miracle of life, this staggering improbability that is — somehow, somehow — possible.”

Read the rest of the post and see some beautiful hummingbird art here.

Sy signing books at the fabulous Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire.

The Hummingbird’s Gift has taken flight. In the photo, Sy is signing books at the fabulous Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire. She also shows off a hummingbird’s nest with two navy beans standing in for the diminutive eggs.

First reviews:

“Montgomery has written another engaging work of popular science, similar to her previous books,” says Library Journal.

“Zippy as its titular bird,” says the Associated Press, and “quite fascinating.”

“Montgomery’s bright, richly illustrated chronicle stirs renewed appreciation for human empathy, skill, and wonder and a miraculous winged species,” says Booklist.

The Washington Post suggests it as a “feel good book to brighten your summer: Ah, to be able to fly far, far away. The hummingbird — an inspiring creature — can do that and more. It’s the lightest bird in the sky, able to fly backward and beat its wings more than 60 times a second. This slim book, centered on two abandoned hummingbirds who are nurtured back to health, is ideal for garden reading.”

A hummingbird's nest

Barnes and Noble’s “Most Anticipated New Book Releases of May 2021” looks forward to Sy’s new book, The Hummingbird’s Gift:

“In each of her books, Sy Montgomery has introduced adults and children to the complicated, intelligent spirits of our fellow creatures in the natural world, be it an octopus, a good, good pig, pink dolphins, or golden moon bears. This tale of an intervention to save the lives of two orphaned, nearly microscopic hummingbird babies is a rumination on fragility and interdependence, and an extraordinary close-up on the wonder that is a hummingbird. ‘Hummingbirds are less flesh than fairies … little more than bubbles fringed with iridescent feathers — air wrapped in light.’”