When Little Brown Bird decides to sing something silly, most birds in the neighborhood follow her lead, but crows can’t be silly, can they?
The creator of A Penguin Story (2009) returns with another imaginative solution to monotony and predictability in the natural world. “All year long,” the narration begins, “…the birds in the neighborhood went....” The words “caw,” “coo,” “chip” and “peep” repeat in speech bubbles, varied only in the order of their appearance. Then, one day, Little Brown Bird tries something new. “Froodle sproodle!” extends across a lengthy spread, its font emphasizing the shocking surprise. On the next spread, matched in magnitude, an unamused crow stares down at the miscreant, but Little Brown Bird can’t resist. Soon, Cardinal and Dove are experimenting, too. As the silliness spreads, the story actually turns sideways for a moment, forcing readers to physically rotate the book 90 degrees. Repeat listeners will gleefully join in with the rhyming dialogue bubbles. The mixed-media illustrations created with pencil, charcoal and ink and with digitally added color are made up of simple and stylized images, but the birds are recognizable.
“The neighborhood was never the same,” the narrator reports, and neither will be the charmed listeners and readers of this cheerful invitation to invention. (Picture book. 4-7)