A small bird discovers a magical way to make friends in Masterson’s rhyming picture-book debut.
Cy is a plain-looking, gray bird; his neighbors are brightly colored, geometrically patterned, snobbish-seeming songbirds. After trying to make friends, and encountering an “awfully big” vocabulary word (“obstreperous”), Cy takes a trip to the sea, apparently to get perspective. There, Cy nearly runs into a seagull, and then a sudden, nonsensical appearance of owls made of electric lights makes him realize that “the light inside [himself] is always on.” The easy friendship that Cy forms with the seagull and his friends is handled in a believable way. However, it’s unclear why the glowing owls help him to win over the neighbor birds, who suddenly appear to be happy to be Cy’s friends. Although most of the rhymes in the book scan well, the lines’ layout occasionally makes them hard to parse: “Yes, these owls were made of light bulbs and wires and no, / they’d never be avian flyers.” Debut illustrator Elder’s eye-catching, full-color images, featuring painted backgrounds and pen-and-ink characters, are the highlight of the book.
Odd and occasionally awkward, but a good read-aloud for lap readers, who will enjoy poring over the images.