What in the world is a ziz?
It is an extraordinary, amazing bird. She has a wingspan that can block the sky, but she’s gentle and sweet, with kindness for all, playing with children and guarding farmers’ crops. Oh yes, she also sings from morning to night, when she’s alone or at play with friends or in her nest on high. The songs can be happy or sad, but they are always loud. When she takes “a little shluffy,” incorporating a Yiddish word for a child’s nap, the singing ends, only to be replaced by even louder snores. Marshall tells this very slight tale in lilting, vaguely Seussian singsong rhymes that fly across the pages along with the mysterious ziz. In a note Marshall cites biblical Jewish writings naming this bird that inspired her to bring it to life. Reed’s brightly hued illustrations interpret Marshall’s vision of the ziz and are designed with unfettered imagination and verve. When the bird stands on her yellow feet on land, her orange crown and yellow beak reach through the clouds. Her huge orange wings are in perfect proportion to her very long neck and flexible body. The work begs to be read aloud—or, better yet, together—and the large print with a smattering of italics provides cues for fun-filled interpretations.
Sweet and delightful and totally charming. (Picture book. 3-9)