The funny little white bird is almost invisible against his white background, unnoticed and, consequently, sad.
He discovers that by gathering materials from his surroundings—feathers, leaves, stalks, flowers—he can make himself look more like an ordinary bird and also become visible. Unfortunately, this can also draw unwanted attention from predators. Strutting along proudly with his newfound accoutrements, he is immediately noticed by a fox, and he only escapes by hastily abandoning his treasures and becoming invisible again. After this experience, he discovers a virtue in his invisibility. He can hide himself and also protect other creatures from harm. The moral of this Aesopian tale, simply told, is that it is more rewarding to be a good friend than to show off. In a constant play with positive/negative space, the artist explores with gentle humor the meaning of identity, both visual and metaphorical. Until he learns to use his surroundings appropriately, the bird is defined only by his environment. Once he understands the ways of the world, he can create his own identity. A flat, decorative style, delicate brushwork and a light, controlled palette in refreshing, springlike colors characterize Yerkes’ illustrations.
This highly original and thought-provoking picture book will appeal to the peek-a-boo sensibilities of the youngest readers and also have aesthetic appeal for parents. (Picture book. 2-5)