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THE BABY BEEBEE BIRD by Diane Redfield Massie


by Diane Redfield Massie & illustrated by Steven Kellogg

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-028083-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

Massie’s zoo tale from 1963 gets a colorful remake, thanks to a set of typically effervescent illustrations from Kellogg (The Three Sillies, 1999, etc.). Just as the zoo’s drowsy denizens are beginning to drift off after closing time, a piercing “beebee bobbibobbi beebee bobbibobbi” rings through the night from the newly arrived baby beebee bird. Cheerfully ignoring a collective roar to PIPE DOWN, the nocturnal singer keeps everyone sleepless until dawn. Weariness and annoyance are writ hilariously large on the faces of Kellogg’s rumpled menagerie the morning after. Eager to prevent another long night, the animals bellow out their own “BEEBEEBOBBI” chorus to keep the beebee bird awake all day, so that by nightfall everyone, bird included, is ready for slumber land. Changes in typeface, size, and color add visual interest as well as cues for volume and pacing; simplified backgrounds, often just a large disk representing the sun or moon, will help keep the more easily distracted viewers’ attention on the animals. The new oversized format is a distinct improvement, too, since the original was difficult to use in a group setting. Young listeners will find the invitation to chime in on the Beebee Bird’s irritating continuo utterly irresistible, but this makes an eminently suitable candidate for bedtime reading nonetheless. Hooray for the return of the baby beebee bird. (Picture book. 4-7)