Title: Two Many Birds
Author & Illustrator: Cindy Derby
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2020
Themes: power of community, standing up for yourself, birds, inclusion, empathy, rules, resistance
A lone authority-bird monitors the number of birds with access to an old tree. There’s a 100-bird limit. – there’s a limit of 100 birds. As more and more birds gather, rules multiply. No nesting, no running, no parrots on Tuesdays, no feather fluffing, no diapers, etc. During one of the authority-bird’s lunch breaks, one of the birds’ eggs hatches and suddenly there are TWO MANY birds. The authority-bird tries to enforce the rules and evict the extras, but the bird community resists.
While thus far in the story we have seen the authority-bird as the antagonist, he has a beautiful story arc. His grumpy rule-enforcement had a sincere motivation. He cares about trees. He starts to plant fields of acorns. This solo endeavor is soon joined by the birds he but soon he’d rejected until soon the acorn-sowing is an entire community endeavor. The final spreads show a small forest with trees for everyone to enjoy.
like love this book:
First off, the art is dreamy. This dumpling-shaped quirky birds with long legs and some with funky hair, are hilarious. I spent a long time appreciating all these bird characters. And the textual humor is as strong as the visual. The arbitrary rules are side-splitting and the subtle play on TWO(TOO) many birds, with a mid-book reveal of the significance of TWO, will appeal to the astute listeners.
I love how the Authority rule-enforcer is not as black as you think, and people can change from authoritarian rule-enforcers to community-embracers and conservationists. Also Cindy shows us the power of united resistance and looking for creative solutions for finding other and/or expanding local resources so all can benefit. This is a beautiful, funny multi-layered picture book.
If this is read with a class, I think the whole class could create a tree display on the wall with each kid making 3 or 4 of their own birds to stick onto the branches.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
Thank you to the author for a copy of the picture in exchange for an unbiased review.