Canadian artist Dubuc delivers a quiet story that knits together themes of friendship and the circle of seasons.
Working in his autumn garden, Lion hears a sound. An injured bird falls to the ground as its flock flies south. Lion nurses the bird to health, and the pair winters together in Lion’s firelit cottage. “It snows and snows. / But winter doesn’t feel all that cold with a friend.” Spring returns, with flowers, garden sprouts and yes—a V-shaped flock. In a poignant scene, the now-healed bird gestures upward. “ ‘Yes,’ says Lion. ‘I know.’ ” Lonely, Lion consoles himself with summer pursuits: tending the ripening garden, reading, fishing. When autumn arrives with a fallen leaf, Lion, looking skyward, wonders, “And how about you?” Dubuc’s pictures have a charming, naïve appeal. Against muted washes of brown, blue and green, colored pencils delineate Lion’s home and garden in simple, rounded shapes. Lion’s accommodations for his tiny guest will conjure smiles: The bird sleeps in a slipper and relaxes in a little box by the fire. For winter fun, the two toboggan and ice fish, the bird peeking out from inside Lion’s balaclava. Dubuc excels at capturing emotions visually. The angle of Lion’s posture, with a single nuanced line for his mouth, evinces joy or sadness. White space—sometimes whole pages—speaks its own language of loss and hope.
A sensitive, uplifting meditation. (Picture book. 4-7)