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TEN BIRDS by Cybèle  Young Kirkus Star


by Cybèle Young & illustrated by Cybèle Young

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55453-568-2
Publisher: Kids Can

Ten small birds have a serious problem. They need to get across a river and have only a deserted lot full of discarded odds and ends—and their own ingenuity—to help them. After “the one they called ‘Brilliant’ ” creates some stilts and makes his way to the other side, the other birds follow, with each new effort—a water bicycle, Leonardo-esque wings, a spool-driven parachute, a boat crafted from an old fan—as imaginatively detailed and surprising as the last. The straightforward text provides structure and clarity, while the striking and intricate pen-and-ink illustrations perfectly capture the stillness of a night full of wintry snow, show the birds’ innovative and slightly mystical solutions to the problem at hand and seamlessly depict the decreasing numbers that represent the birds who have yet to cross. Most of the birds have apt names: Shows Great Promise, Extraordinary, Outstanding—even Highly Satisfactory comes up with an original idea. In the end, only Needs Improvement is left. But this last bird may not need improvement after all; he sees something of a practical nature the others have missed. Incorporating elements of a fable with a style vaguely reminiscent of David Macaulay or Arthur Geisert, this quietly dazzling selection is a subtle celebration of individuality and creativity. Appealing, unique and not to be missed. (Picture book. 5-10)