A peace-waging parable, presented with wry minimalism à la Jon Klassen or Tomi Ungerer.
Carrying nets, three hunters creep up on a sleeping bird in a dark forest, but thanks to their own clumsiness, they repeatedly manage to get in one another’s way as the bird slips off. Meanwhile, despite their frantic shushing, a smaller, fourth figure waves and calls out “hello birdie,” offering bread. Soon, an entire flock has gathered around number four’s feet—a flock that proceeds to turn and chase the hunters away. The text runs to just a few words per page, but it neatly serves to crank up the suspense: “ready one / ready two / ready three… // GO!” Haughton (Oh No, George!, 2012) uses a palette of deep blues and purples for his simple forest scenes; this causes the hunters’ googly eyes to stand out comically and also makes the fuchsia, red and orange birds easy to spot and follow. Last seen creeping up on a squirrel, the hunters have plainly learned nothing from their experience…but young readers might.
Sure to “net” young audiences, who will definitely root for the birds. (Picture book. 5-7)