I AM A BIRD by Dana Walrath


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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A father and child visit the ocean, and the child imagines many transformations.

The child holds the beach blanket flapping out, capelike, behind: “I am a bird. I fly.” The subsequent spread begins with the ending of the previous one: “I’m a fly. I land.” The child spreads the blanket out. Some of the metaphors require a little bit of concentration to parse. “I’m a line. I tug. / I’m a tug. I tow” shows father and child on the beach waving to a tugboat at work, hauling a large ship by a line. Some may resist parsing. “I am kelp. I branch” simply portrays the child from the waist down amid some kelp and cartoon crabs. But Kim certainly manages to convey both the delight the pair finds in each other’s company and the child’s exuberance. The father joyfully joins the play, even consenting to being buried in the sand. The ending breaks the pattern but cements the relationship: “I am a bird. I glide / into arms open wide. // I’m the hands that hold / and the eyes that shine… // when it’s you / and it’s me / and the sea.” Both are depicted with dark hair and East Asian features.

Imaginative children could take this idea far; so could teachers covering homonyms and metaphors. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4814-8002-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2018


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