¶ Among all the children of Mother Nature, the fruits and vegetables are probably the most useful to us. Wherever we may go some of these little people are there before us, ready to help us by giving us food and to make life easy and joyous for us.
¶ In your Mother’s garden you will always find many familiar friends; in the fields the graceful Grain children will nod and beckon to you; in the orchard the Fruit children will peep out at you from their leafy homes; along the roadside the gay little Berries will give you a friendly greeting, and in the forest you will find the little wild Grapes climbing trees and playing hide and seek with the Bird children.
¶ The publishers, who have already given you the Flower Children, Bird Children, and Animal Children, wish to join the author and the artist in their grateful acknowledgment of the wonderful appreciation which these books have received, and to hope that these new comrades will prove as fascinating as those whom you already know.
¶ For myself, little friends, I thank you from my heart.
Birds are poetry come to life and set to music. If you should stand at the edge of a forest at sundown and hear the birds singing their good-night songs, hear the sleepy little notes grow fainter and fainter until the silence came,—then when the dusk had deepened, you should hear the night birds begin their plaintive songs, you would realize what a different place our beautiful world would be without birds.
Even in great cities we have always some birds. The saucy little sparrow, who comes so boldly begging crumbs at your window, likes the cities best.
Only very thoughtless people, or those who do not understand, would harm or frighten a bird.
They are real little people, and I am sure that when you have come to know them you will love them as much as you have learned to love the Flower Children.
The publishers and the author have received so many letters from parents commending Flower Children for its instructive features, and from children, demanding “more” delightful play-mates, that they offer “Bird Brothers and Sisters,” believing that “The little playmates of the Flower Children” will prove as welcome visitors as “The Little Cousins of the Fields and Garden.”
The author and the artist wish to thank the children for their many expressions of interest and for their loyal support.
In preparing this book the author and the artist have at-tempted to show the kinship of children and flowers—and it is their hope that the little ones into whose hands this volume comes will find herein the proof that their knowledge of what flowers really are is true and that their love for the friendly blossoms is returned many-fold.
To you, then, little child-flowers, this book is lovingly of-fered as an expression of thankfulness to children for the joy and sweetness with which they have filled my life.
The Little Cousins of
the Field and Garden
drawings by M.T. ROSS