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A CAGE WENT IN SEARCH OF A BIRD by Cary Fagan Kirkus Star


by Cary Fagan ; illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian

Pub Date: May 16th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-55498-861-7
Publisher: Groundwood

It is common to associate cages with imprisonment, but what of the cage’s point of view?

The book’s title is an aphorism attributed to Franz Kafka; it clearly stimulated a flight of fancy in Fagan. He banishes his subject to an attic corner where it feels “useless and unwanted.” Despite admonishments from the suitcase and guitar, the cage maneuvers itself to the window and jumps. Decorated with heart-shaped scrollwork, this wrought-iron home longs for an inhabitant. It strikes up conversations with all the birds that happen by, from a hummingbird to an owl, trying to persuade them of the merits of caged life. Blues and oranges dominate Erfanian’s vibrant illustrations. The flowers that grace the rolling hills and the texture applied to the wooded backgrounds create a cozy tapestry effect further enhanced by the soft edges produced by the acrylic and oil pastels. Each wild creature rejects the cage’s logic, and after a lonely night, there is a discernable difference in its approach to the frightened bird that lands nearby. The cage listens to the pet’s tale of abandonment without pressure, simply keeping it company. Ultimately, an invitation is extended: “Do not worry anymore. Hop inside where it is warm and safe. For I have come to save you. And you have come to save me.”

An original and thought-provoking exploration of the rhythms of friendship.

(Picture book. 4-7)