MOONBIRD by Joyce Dunbar


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 7
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From the magical land of the silvery bubble-blowing Moonchild, a bubble popping in little Prince Orla’s ear suddenly makes him profoundly deaf. His worried, joyless parents hire several ineffectual fools to restore their son to their hearing world. The most ridiculous looking one is ready to tie elephant-sized ears on the prince’s head. The royal soothsayer understands immediately that the child comprehends the world with his eyes, and the soothsayer is commandingly credible, because he wears magical symbols: star, tree and bird. Graceful Moonbird comes to the rescue, flying the prince to a magical school where a gazelle and silver monkey teach him “eye music,” and tell him he can teach his parents hand talking and silent mouthing. However, his parents are clueless until Moonchild blows an enormous bubble that bursts over their kingdom, changing their intricate yet barren landscape and their hearts. Ray’s luminous art and lyrical text are heavy with symbolism: Those who understand sign language and the powers of observation are adorned in the most silver trees, birds and stars, and others find adornment as they learn. Young readers will understand with help the clear message that sign language education for children who are deaf is essential to their healthy growth, and that it is a tremendous step forward for all people to increase their observation skills to learn it. But this heavy, controversial message won’t be swallowed easily. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-385-60589-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Doubleday UK/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2007


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