Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WELCOME, BROWN BIRD by Mary Lyn Ray

WELCOME, BROWN BIRD

By Mary Lyn Ray (Author) , Peter Sylvada (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-15-292863-4
Publisher: Harcourt

The migration of a small songbird symbolically connects two boys from opposite places in the world. A North American farm boy daily waits for and listens to “the silvery circular song” of the wood thrush and convinces his father to leave standing the trees that welcome the bird throughout the summer. Days grow colder and shorter, the forest becomes quiet, and the bird migrates south to a rainforest. Similarly, the South American boy living adjacent to the forest hears the familiar song and tells his mother in Spanish, “La flauta . . . está aquí.” When father goes to cut the trees to sell at the mill, the boy convinces him to leave some trees, preserving the songbird’s natural habitat and migratory cycle. Ray’s lyrical free verse touches on two important themes: the mystery of migration and the necessary preservation of the forests all birds depend on. While culture and language separate the boys, the concern for the environment creates a universal bond. Oil paintings in yellows and browns reflect the summer’s sun and heat of both continents. Subtle, effective, and a good springboard for discussion. (Picture book. 5-9)