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by Andrea Perry and illustrated by Roberta Angaramo

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: March 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4169-0624-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This jaunty cumulative tale has a pleasingly playful complexity, both in the wording and in its sense of time. Perry concocts a rhythmic text with unexpected twists and turns, and rather than moving the story forward, it works backward. The Bicklebys’ birdbath is a ramshackle affair, cracked and leaking, though clearly loved by the birds it serves, birds that stare back at readers with startling engagement. Angaramo’s lush artwork follows the action as the mailman demolishes the birdbath after being chased by a goose that had been startled by a moose. The story lopes along, with a “flock / full of curious crows / that spruced up their nest / with the buttons and bows / that came from the scarecrow / in nifty new clothes / that fell in the yard where the / long green grass grows.” Meanwhile, the illustrations catch the unraveling of the adventure—at one point the mailman is just a blip on the horizon, deep in the future—until the narrative flips into real time and a new birdbath makes an appearance. Sweetly clever. (Picture book. 3-6)