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BRAVO, LITTLE BIRD! by Annie Silvestro Kirkus Star


by Annie Silvestro ; illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-66590-692-0
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Musings on loss.

An old man and his wife (both tan-skinned) spend their days playing piano and painting, respectively, in their little house high on a hill. The music travels to the valley below, attracting the eponymous Little Bird, who builds her nest outside the man’s window and sings as he plays. The couple’s visiting grandson (slightly lighter-skinned than they are) delights in Little Bird, and everyone is glad when her babies hatch. The grandfather cheers on everyone’s creative efforts. His encouragement continues even as his strength wanes and the grandson takes over at the piano. A strikingly composed, somber aerial view of the grandmother and grandson embracing shows the piano sitting idly in the house, the birds still (“Then one morning, all was quiet”). It’s clear that Grandpa has died. Grief silences the once-happy home until a cardinal (which some readers will regard as a sign of a deceased loved one) asks Little Bird about the music that used to play in the valley. Culminating scenes show the old man’s legacy in action as people and birds alike gather to make music outside the house on the hill. The text has a folkloric quality, movingly grappling with grief, loss, and legacy, while warm illustrations that evoke Lauren Castillo’s style create both idyllic scenes of enjoyment in art and music and moments of heartache. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A heartwarming tear-jerker—bravo, indeed.

(Picture book. 3-8)