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Contributor(s): Staake, Bob (Author), Staake, Bob (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 0375870377     ISBN-13: 9780375870378
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
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Binding Type: Hardcover - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: April 2013

Annotation: An exploration of the universal themes of loneliness, bullying and friendship traces the poignant journey of a bluebird who makes the acquaintance of a young boy and ultimately risks his life to save the boy from harm. By the creator of The Red Lemon.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Animals - Birds
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes - Death, Grief, Bereavement
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes - Friendship
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2012007043
Age Level: 4-8
Grade Level: Preschool-3
Physical Information: 0.5" H x 11.5" W x 9.7" (1.15 lbs) 40 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): BOB STAAKE has authored and/or illustrated over 50 books, including The Donut Chef, Hello Robots, Look a Book, This Is Not a Pumpkin, and Pets Go Pop. The New York Times named Staake's The Red Lemon one of the 10 best illustrated books of 2006.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall)
A downcast loner, teased or ignored by his classmates, trudges Manhattan's geometric, gray streets, oblivious to possible friendship or fun until his spirits are gradually lifted by the insistent bird following him. Then dusk brings a bullies' ambush, conflict, sorrow--and a dreamlike resurrection accompanied by a many-colored flock. Staake's graphically distinguished art conveys extraordinary depth of emotion for this quietly beautiful book.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2)
e-book ed. 978-0-375-98904-9 $10.99

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2013 February #4)

In this wordless story, a shy boy finds a winged mentor in a cheery bluebird. The bird helps the boy perk up after a rough day at school and then connects him to some friendly children at a sailboat pond. But when bullies kill the bird—a truly shocking moment—the story sheds its simple yearning and wishfulness (with the bird as a kind of feathered fairy godmother) and deepens into an eloquent affirmation of love, faith, and the persistence of goodness. Staake (Bugs Galore!) propels his story forward with steady assurance, using a largely gray palette, geometric shapes, and comics-style framing. He vividly evokes a Manhattanlike landscape that's overwhelming, yet full of potential, and he gives full visual voice to the boy's emotions; there are several moments when Staake stops the action and lets his audience savor how the bird has transformed the boy. It's possible (though not necessary) to attach the suggestion of an afterlife to the final pages, but believers and skeptics alike will find something deeply impressive and moving in this work of a singular, fully committed talent. Ages 4–8. Agent: Gilliam Mackenzie, Gillian Mackenzie Agency. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2013 March)

Gr 2–5—Staake's ability to digitally compose and contrast shapes for a pleasing geometric balance, aesthetic effect, and narrative purpose has never been stronger than in this wordless title about a heroic bird. Readers follow its flight past a New York City skyline filled with cones, pyramids, and rectangular prisms. Vertical lines are punctuated with stylized circular trees, heads, iris shots, clocks, etc. The sky and bird are indeed blue, but the lonely boy with the large, round head is dark gray; shades of gray comprise much of his world. White and black, used symbolically, complete the palette. The warbler notices the boy with the downcast eyes being mocked as he enters school. Afterward, the two play hide-and-seek, share a cookie, sail a toy boat together-in short, they become friends. Tuned-in readers will note the dedication to Audubon, examples of his art, the clock brand "Icarus," and other subtle thematic supports. Conflict arises when they enter Central Park, which is ominously dark, and bullies attempt to steal the boat. When one of them hurls a stick, the bird blocks it and falls, lifeless. As the child cradles his friend, the background brightens and a brilliantly colored flock lifts the pair into the clouds, where the creature fades from view as the boy waves good-bye. With echoes of Disney-Pixar's Up and William Joyce's The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (S & S, 2012), this is an apt fable for our time as we seek to help children develop empathy, curb aggression, and sense hope.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

[Page 128]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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