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BIRDS by Kevin Henkes

BIRDS

by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-136304-7
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

A precocious girl’s reverie begins when the birds’ morning songs drift through her window. Initially, she reflects on their vastly varied physical attributes; her thoughts then turn to the birds’ relationship with their physical environment, both collectively and individually. Powerful images reflect their beauty. “Sometimes in winter, a bird in a tree looks like one red leaf left over.” While the girl wishes to fly like birds she enjoys, she is encouraged by the commonality that unites them: “I can sing!” Dronzek’s wavy black lines accentuate the birds’ natural radiance; acrylic smudges exude a hazy glow. Dark bursts of color explode against the sky in a striking double-page spread as a flock takes flight en masse; the word “surprise” above outstretched branches reflects the thought with bold uneven letters. Spare language enhances the story’s quiet essence; the girl’s musings change abruptly, with a child’s mercurial speed, resulting in a grounded offering that begins to fly but doesn’t fully soar. (Picture book. 3-6)