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LITTLE BIRD'S DAY

Pairing a lilting text and culturally resonant illustrations, this striking work soars.

Little Bird responds to cues from Sun, Dusk, Moon, and others as natural elements guide a day of activities.

Aboriginal author Morgan, a member of the Palyku people in Western Australia, presents a beautifully cadenced call-and-response narrative voiced by Little Bird and the natural forces that propel its behavior. “Here comes Rain, / falling and splashing. / Time to bathe, Little Bird, / time to sparkle with freshness. // I flutter with Rain to wash my fuzzy feathers.” Little Bird, rising with Sun, sings “to wake the lazy sleepers.” It soars with Wind to reach and feed on a tree’s “crimson blossoms.” Dusk, “gliding and sighing,” induces Little Bird “to join a nightfall roost.” And full Moon, “glowing and whispering,” signals that it’s “Time to rest, Little Bird, / time to settle with your family.” Illustrator Malibirr, a Yolŋu artist from the Aboriginal Ganalbingu clan, uses traditional earth tones, crosshatching, and elements from clan songlines and stories to distinguish his engrossing illustrations, worked in acrylic paint on toned paper. He depicts animals from his native Arnhem Land region, from water buffalo and dingo to echidna and freshwater prawn; an illustrated key challenges readers to find all 10. As Little Bird roosts with its family, it dreams of “flying among the stars.” The dark sky, spattered with thousands of starlit specks, reveals Little Bird’s shadowy silhouette in its dreamed flight.

Pairing a lilting text and culturally resonant illustrations, this striking work soars. (editorial note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73622-646-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Dot Kids Press

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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