BIRD CHILD by Nan Forler


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
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Eliza learns a powerful truth from her mother, which she draws on when a classmate is victimized. “Look down and see what is. Now, look up and see what can be.” Silently, Eliza observes new-girl Lainey’s ostracism due to her unusual appearance, watching as the bullying increases, refraining from intervention when Lainey is brutally pushed in the snow. The authentic voice portrays bullying’s devastating impact. “Lainey did not cry and she did not smile. It was as though the others had taken what was inside her and buried it along with her hat.” In a hopeful sequence, Eliza’s mother gently guides her daughter to a moral decision. The symbolism of flight is woven through the narrative. Thisdale’s vibrant mixed-media art plays with dominance and size in its compositions; drawings, paintings and digital images add layers of context. Children’s faces appear hazily behind layered backdrops, providing a recognizable face for bullies’ victims. This is a sensitive account through an empowered youngster’s eyes, significantly more abstract than Say Something, by Peggy Moss, illustrated by Lea Lyon (2004), but covering much the same emotional turf. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88776-894-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Tundra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2009


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