BIRDSONG by Julie Flett
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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A young girl misses her urban home by the sea but soon discovers an unlikely friend who helps her to adjust.

After Katherena and her mom settle into their new rural home, Katherena visits the neighboring house and meets aging neighbor Agnes, an artist who works in clay. The seasons flow one into another. Katherena draws what she sees and grows ever closer to Agnes. Agnes tells Katherena about her art and about rural life; Katherena shares Cree words with Agnes. By the time it is fall, she’s helping Agnes in her garden. However, by winter, Agnes has become too weak to be outside much. Katherena and her mother make a salmon stew that Katherena takes over for Agnes and her daughter to enjoy. When spring returns again, Agnes continues to weaken, but Katherena has a plan to help her friend enjoy spring without going outside. Flett’s simple story explores the difficulties of moving but also shows young readers how new friends can sometimes ease them; that this friendship is an intergenerational one between fellow artists is an especially sweet touch. Flett (Cree/Métis) employs her characteristically minimalist style, placing Katherena against flat expanses of greensward that changes with the seasons, birds wheeling above in silhouette. Katherena and her mom both have brown skin and straight, black hair; Agnes has brown skin as well, but she does not speak Cree.

Emotionally stunning. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-77164-473-0
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Greystone Kids
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019


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