The simplest and arguably best Sesame Street song serves as text to an almost equally elemental storyline in which music serves as the wind beneath a little bird’s wings.
Lichtenheld opens with a set of wordless spreads. In a nest on a branch suspended in space against a pale wash of blue, a fledgling sees its two sibs sing a note and fly away. Noteless, sad and alone, the bird sits—until a lad with a guitar (and early Bob Dylan hair) saunters into view, takes a seat down below and unself-consciously ripples out notes. These shatter the nest and send the bird soaring to join its sibs in a buoyant chorus. Along with being strung out in short phrases to accompany the illustrations, the song’s words are recapped at the end—both in English and in a partial Spanish translation—with all the “La-la-la-la-la”s added. The book closes with an image of the original manuscript with a note from the composer’s son. (A musical arrangement is absent, but it’s probably superfluous anyway, so well-known is this song.)
Boy and birds alike sing with infectious joy in this loving tribute, and the 3-song CD that comes with it is a nifty bonus. (Picture book. 3-5)