A little phoenix gets in touch with his feelings.
When Flare is born in a burst of flame, he, like all phoenixes, doesn’t have parents. But Cloud, Wind and Sun watch over him, and he’s a scrappy fellow who teaches himself how to fish and fly. When things go wrong, he sings a little song: “I am tough. / I am strong. / I do not cry.” Sun, Wind and Cloud worry that Flare is perhaps a bit too tough for his own good and decide to coax him toward greater sensitivity. First Cloud models crying by raining, and then Wind wails and howls. Instead of being inspired to soften up a bit and shed some tears of his own, Flare is repelled. Then Sun shines a path through the forest, leading Flare to a baby bird that has fallen from its nest and hurt its wing. The little bird cries in pain, and empathy finally moves Flare to tears as well. In a happy twist, the little phoenix’s tears magically heal the baby bird. While perhaps a bit heavy-handed (must Flare cry if he’s really doing OK?), the text is accessible. Throughout, Côté’s lively illustrations reinforce meaning from one brief chapter to the next, loose lines and broad swathes of color communicating energy and fun.
A sweetly fantastic addition to the early-reader shelf. (Early reader. 6-8)