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TODAY AT THE BLUEBIRD CAFÉ by Deborah Ruddell Kirkus Star

TODAY AT THE BLUEBIRD CAFÉ

A Branchful of Birds

By Deborah Ruddell (Author) , Joan Rankin (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2007
ISBN: 0-689-87153-8
Publisher: McElderry

Ruddell’s debut features 22 delightfully diverse poems taking a new view of various feathered friends. Subtitling her collection, “A Branchful of Birds,” she covers a wide spectrum. There’s the predictable woodpecker and owl, blue jay and cardinal, but also ibis, bobolink, vulture (“A Vulture’s Guide to Good Manners”) and many other less common birds. Similarly, variety reigns in the verse and approach to each subject. Lyrical imagery fills the paeans to the swan and the eagle; “Hoopoe Voodoo” is a model of wordplay drollery (“You people who pooh-pooh the hoopoe”), and “Toucan Tour Guide” depicts an adventure in Peru (in a canoe). Rankin’s watercolors use a muted palette, and in nearly every case, smartly spotlight the subject bird with additional artistic detail. Her sense of humor matches Ruddell’s perfectly, depicting the birds arriving at the Bluebird Café dressed in top hats or fedoras and “Good Old Puffin” defying the cold in beak-warmer and knitted cap. A refreshing step up from nursery rhyme and a terrific introduction to poetry, with a smile attached. (Picture book/poetry. 4-9)