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THE BIRD HOUSE by Cynthia Rylant


by Cynthia Rylant & illustrated by Barry Moser

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-590-47345-X
Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Rylant and Moser (The Dreamer, 1993, etc.) have teamed up again with this fable about a homeless girl and a kind old woman who lives in a bright blue house surrounded by birds. Birds scatter whenever the woman comes outdoors, but always return to be in the garden, to peer in the windows, and to perch on her shoulder. Drawn by the birds, a girl without home or family watches the house and the woman from the woods. When the birds fly into the sky to spell “GIRL” for the old woman to see, the skittish child flees. It takes the great barred owl, who otherwise hardly ever moves, to catch and hold her until the woman can find her. The story may be fanciful, but it touches on elemental themes of inclusion and exclusion, loneliness and love. Moser’s transparent watercolor illustrations of the birds and the countryside are accurate and lovely; the child’s trendy clogs and clean overalls contribute to an idealized atmosphere. Nevertheless, the illustration that show the girl crouching in the shadow of a stone bridge poignantly conveys her isolation and fear. (Picture book. 6-9)