My Baby Blue Jays
By John Berendt
(Viking Children's Books, Hardcover, 9780670012909, 32pp.)
Publication Date: June 9, 2011
List Price: $16.99*
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A blue jay building a nest outside his window prompts John Berendt to find his camera and record the familiar, yet always fascinating sequence of events that will unfold, from eggs being laid to chicks emerging and trying to fly. Children and adults alike will be astonished at the adventurous spirit of one particularly curious young blue jay as he ventures into the world. The author of the best-selling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil brings his narrative skill to this up-close and delightfully informal account of an event that recurs each spring.
Berendt first traveled to Savannah in the early 1980s, when he realized that he could fly there for a three-day weekend for the price of "a paillard of veal served on a bed of wilted radicchio" [p. 24] in one of New York's trendier restaurants. Over the ensuing eight years his visits became more frequent and extended, until he was spending more time in Savannah than in New York.
Part of the appeal, Berendt says, lay in the city's penchant for morbid gossip: "People in Savannah don't say, 'Before leaving the room, Mrs. Jones put on her coat.' Instead, they say, 'Before leaving the room, Mrs. Jones put on the coat that her third husband gave her before he shot himself in the head." ("Entertainment Weekly," 3/11/94, p. 52)
Since the publication and unprecedented success of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Berendt has become a Savannah celebrity and was even presented with the key to the city. "I took it down to City Hall one night to see if it would work, but it didn't." ("Syracuse Post Standard," 4/5/1994)
"From the Trade Paperback edition."