BIRD by Zetta Elliott
Kirkus Star

BIRD

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Nicknamed Bird at birth, Mehkai idolizes his older brother Marcus. As they mature, both brothers excel in art. However, Marcus’s drug experimentation spirals into an all-consuming addiction. While Bird’s drawings are intricate and controlled, Marcus’s colorful graffiti sprawls, depicting a bird in flight. Bird’s conflicting emotions about Marcus authentically reflect his African-American family’s turmoil when his brother dies. His late Granddad’s friend responds to Bird’s despair with quiet strength: “You can fix a broken wing with a splint / and a bird can fly again / But you can’t fix a broken soul.” Elliott’s sensitivity for her subjects resonates with Strickland’s distinctive mixed-media art. Shifting perspectives and colors reflect Marcus’s deepening addiction; his signature cap alters accordingly. Off-kilter lines exude the random energy and volatility of an addict. In two powerful double-page spreads, a doorway separates the brothers; Bird, flooded in light, reaches for Marcus, but his brother remains in the darkness. With unusual depth and raw conviction, Elliott’s child-centered narrative excels in this debut. (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-60060-241-2
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Lee & Low
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2008




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