The Children's Book of Birds combines under a single cover the First and Second Books of Birds, originally published in 1899 and 1901 respectively and still popular with children in and out of school and with other beginners in the study of birds.
The book is intended to interest young people in the ways and habits of birds and to stimulate them to further study. It has grown out of my experience in talking to schools.
From the youngest kindergarten scholar to boys and girls of sixteen and eighteen, I have never failed to find young people intensely interested so long as I would tell them about bow the birds live.
Some of the results of these talks that have come to my knowledge have been astonishing and far-reaching, such as that of one boy of seven or eight, who persuaded the village boys around his summer home to give up taking eggs and killing birds, and watch them instead, and who was dubbed "Professor" by his eager followers.
The effect has always been to make children love and respect the living bird.
It has therefore seemed to me that what is needed at first is not the science of ornithology,—however diluted,—but some account of the life and habits, to arouse sympathy and interest in the living bird, neither as a target nor as a producer of eggs, but as a fellow-creature whose acquaintance it would be pleasant to make.