A loquacious bird is first shunned then valued for his talkative nature.
Little Bird has a lot to say. He asks questions of his parents, tries to engage with his siblings and chatters on to other woodland creatures. No one has time for him or any interest in what he has to say, so he retreats to a little brook. There, he finds another bird who doesn’t tell him to “Be quiet!” and instead “smile[s], laugh[s], and flap[s] his wings at everything Little Bird sa[ys].” Accompanying illustrations reveal that Little Bird is talking to his own reflection in the brook, and here the story unravels a bit: Whereas earlier scenes might provoke sympathy for Little Bird when others ignore him, this scene develops him as an incessant chatterbox less interested in back-and-forth conversation than in stream-of-consciousness soliloquy. He fails to notice that he’s talking to himself or that “the bird in the water” doesn’t respond to his questions and comments. Nevertheless, his family and the other animals end up missing his chatter, and they tell him so and welcome their garrulous loved one back into the fold. Gibson’s illustrations are made of photographed tableaux of the animal characters and setting detail sculpted from fabric and other materials, and they steal the show with lively, expressive characterization.
A visual treat, even if Little Bird is a little much. (Picture book. 3-6)