A Home for Bird – Perfect Picture Book Friday.

In case you didn’t get a chance to check yesterday, here are the CYBILS 2012 winners! It was a great privilege to participate as one of the 2nd round judges for the fictional picture book category. I felt it was only fitting to review the book we chose as the winner for today’s perfect picture book!

homeTitle: A Home For Bird

By Philip C. Stead

Published by Roaring Book Press, 2012

Ages: 3-5

Themes: Friendship, home, toads, birds

Awards: 2012 Cybils Winner for the category fictional picture books

Opening Lines:

Vernon was out foraging for interesting things when he found Bird. 

“Are you okay?” asked Vernon.

Bird said nothing.

“Are you lost?”

Bird said nothing.

“You are welcome to join me,” said Vernon.

Synopsis:

Vernon, the toad, is out and about looking for things to collect when he comes across a blue bird, who appears to be lost, though it is hard to be sure as Bird never replies to Vernon’s gentle questions. Vernon, being a friendly toad, shows his new friend around and introduces him to his other buddies, a skunk and a porcupine.

Vernon takes his friendship with Bird very seriously and concerned that Bird’s silence may be due to homesickness, sets out with Bird to find Bird’s home. Vernon shows Bird a cage, a nest, and many other living options, asking Bird each time if this is home. Vernon becomes quite downcast and not being able to help his friend, but he is determined and inventive and they set off again, by air this time, in search of Birds home. The search continues into the evening by which time Vernon is exhausted and they stop at a house for the night. Vernon tucks Bird into the upstairs room in a little house he finds on a wall in the house. Tick, tock, Tick, tock – have they found Bird’s home?

Why I like this book:

It is very easy to miss the first illustration, which somewhat precedes the start of the story and text. This is of an old open-back truck loaded with chairs, carpets, lamps etc and an old clock. I would open this page first, with a child, to see what they observe, then move onto the opening lines of the next page. I say this, because I missed this on my first reading and thus the end was a complete surprise to me, and just delightful!

My absolutely favorite line in the story is when Vernon, introduces Bird to Skunk and Porcupine: “Bird is shy,” said Vernon, “but also a very good listener”.

Preschoolers will love Vernon’s loyalty and thoughtfulness and adults and children will adore the charm and humour of this story. Stead’s warm, fluid crayon and gouache illustrations, with fun details like Skunk and Porcupine tied up in a yoyo, marry perfectly with this text. It is a story full of heart and those great qualities of a repeatedly read-aloud picture book. It is a book that manages both simplicity and complexity at the same time and left me with a warm afterglow.

Activities/Resources: 

Carter Higgins looks in detail at the illustrations of A HOME FOR BIRD on her website, Design of the Picture Book.

Philip Stead has a great youtube video on A HOME FOR BIRD.

Bird-feeding activities for kids.

Bird-house crafts for kids.

And just for fun, some cuckoo clocks usurped by other critters – here.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

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32 Responses to A Home for Bird – Perfect Picture Book Friday.

  1. Iza Trapani says:

    A big hearted book with animals and nature? What could be better? It sounds lovely. Thanks Joanna!

  2. Sylvia Liu says:

    Thanks…I’ll definitely check this out. The cover looks adorable.

  3. this looks like one of those “have to read” books! I always love it when illustrations before the story set the scene… it’s a good way to teach kids that drawings (and photos, tables, graphs) provide essential information. Thanks for sharing this review!

  4. Sounds fabulous, Joanna. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Joanna, this sounds delightful. I’m glad you mentioned the early illustration. They seem to be doing this more. The book ,Mine, that I reviewed had both front and end covers with illos, that started and finished the story. My 4 yr old grandd noticed a soggy sock I had not previously seen on the end cover.

  6. A book filled with heart and compassion. Love that it won! Thanks for sharing the video and other illustrations so I could better grasp the story. Loved the illustrations. Glad you shared it!

  7. I’m very taken with the book just by your description of it! Being nature, and especially bird, lovers, I think I can even get my teen boys to enjoy this. 🙂 Thanks for a terrific review!

  8. I loved a Sick Day for Amos McGee. Now I’m on the lookout for this book by the same author!

  9. Cathy Mealey says:

    It is a terrific book and so well deserving of the win! Sweetness abounds.

  10. This looks wonderful! Sounds like Vernon may have a bit of Horton in him! 🙂

  11. Rhythm says:

    This sounds like a really heart-warming story. I like the artwork on the cover. I think I’ll have to check this one out. Thanks for sharing. I’ll bet it’s a difficult assignment to have to choose a winner of beautiful picture books!

  12. Such a good review. The book sounds delightful — and the activities too.

    On another note, thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciated your good wishes.

  13. Great review of a book that sounds SO lovely! I’ve seen it before, but can you believe it? still haven’t read it! I will have to rectify that at once! Love the Vernon – how kind he is – and love the art, too. Thanks for adding this to our list!

  14. Cute! I like the cover! This sounds like a very nice story about friendship! 🙂

  15. Joanna says:

    I’m a sucker for cute friendship stories, Erik.

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