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LOVE BIRDS by Jane Yolen


by Jane Yolen ; illustrated by Anna Wilson

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-951836-40-5
Publisher: Cameron Kids

When birds are easier to speak to than people, what do you do when you meet another bird lover?

It’s been a month, and Jon still hasn’t spoken to another kid his age since he moved to town. Still, while he may not talk much, he’s an excellent listener. He listens particularly to birds of all sorts, in the fields and the skies. One evening he hears a barred owl and imitates its song. Yet when he follows its response, he instead finds a girl and fellow bird lover named Janet. Together they talk and listen together, “for days and weeks, / and into the years.” While Yolen’s author’s note states that this book is a partner to her Caldecott Award winner Owl Moon (1987), illustrated by John Schoenherr, it might be more accurate to say it exists in the same universe. The story sets up a nice series of contrasts (Jon’s mother’s chattiness versus her son’s silence versus the give and take of Jon and Janet’s conversations). Meanwhile Wilson weaves images of birds into an array of panels. Delicious details also hide in the cracks of these pictures, like the images on a page opposite the author’s note depicting photographs of Jon and Janet growing older, marrying, and having children to bird with. Jon and his mother are light-skinned, and Janet presents Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Feathers and friendship make for a good pairing in this gentle ode to appreciating both.

(Picture book. 4-7)