Little Bird loves to learn new words, especially when they are “big bird” words.
When his papa drops a juicy worm with a loud “Blark,” Little Bird is thrilled to try out the new word. Papa tells him that the word is not suitable for little birds, but of course, this makes Little Bird want to show it off to all his friends. Their reactions are not what he expected. Frog is startled, Moose is rendered speechless, Fish and Ladybug are very unhappy, and poor, shocked Turtle just retreats deep in his shell. Little Bird realizes that something about that word is just plain wrong. Papa helps him make amends, and he knows the right word for that. In an amusing touch, it’s the newly recaptured worm that uses the word next—and last. Grant employs a gentle touch with what could have been a heavy-handed morality tale, carefully avoiding a descent into didacticism or saccharine sentiment. Little Bird is innocent and well-meaning, and his Papa is nonjudgmental and patient. Although upset at first, his friends accept his apology, knowing that he never meant to hurt them. The text stands out in bold print in large white spaces. Little readers receive strong visual clues to augment the text via bright, large-scale charcoal and digitally colored illustrations depicting the characters’ emotional responses to the events.
A charming, tender, and ever pertinent life lesson. (Picture book. 4-7)