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Albert Paperback – June 1, 2005
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Every day Albert sticks his hand out the window of his apartment to check the weather. Every day he decides it's too cold, too hot, too wet, too breezy, and goes back to sitting at his table, drinking tomato juice, doing card tricks, or listening to baseball games on the radio. Until one day when he works his hand out through the grillwork over his window--plop! A cardinal drops a twig in his palm. Before he knows it, Albert is stranded, holding a brand new nest in his hand. The days go by, eggs are laid, the papa cardinal starts feeding berries to Albert, and, inevitably, chicks hatch. Meanwhile, Albert is slowly developing a different take on life. His previously protected world opens up as he witnesses the highs and lows of nature's course.
In this odd little story, award-winning young adult novelist Donna Jo Napoli (Zel, Spinners, etc.) takes her first stab at writing a picture book. It's quirky, it's whimsical... It's a little perplexing. The moral, apparently, is that we need to seize life by the lapels, take the good with the bad, not hide our heads underground. But this message may apply more strongly to adults, especially as the protagonist himself is a young man. Still, children will love the idea of a bird building its nest in someone's hand. With colored pencils, Jim LaMarche creates luminous full-page illustrations with charming details and intriguing angles. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Napoli's (Beast) first picture book spins a beguiling tale of a recluse forced out of his shell through unlikely circumstances. Sticking his hand through the window grillwork each day to check the weather, Albert invariably decides it's "too cold," "too damp" or "too breezy" to venture out. Instead of going for a walk he "listened to baseball games on the radio and cut pictures out of magazines and wrote postcards he never mailed." One day when he stretches his hand outside his window, a pair of cardinals build a nest in it. Reluctant to destroy the nest, Albert sleeps standing up and guards the eggs while the parents are foraging. He thus discovers that the world is not so forbidding, and decides it's time to test his own wings. Napoli effortlessly incorporates the twin metaphors of Albert reaching out to the world around him and baby birds learning to fly in flawless prose. LaMarche (The Rainbabies) luminescent colored pencil illustrations in turn reflect the tale's quiet charm. The artist is in complete control of his imagery from start to finish: A literal foreshadowing in the opening scene shows the shadow of the birds perched on grillwork crossbars projected onto the wall, symbolizing both imprisonment and freedom; in the final scene, Albert "flies" on a swing in a city park. The artist captures Albert's gentle eccentricity in his Edwardian haircut and oddly formal clothing. A magical marriage of art and text. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Illustrations are lovely, and the content is appropriate for older kids exploring more complex emotions.
Most recent customer reviews
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By Donna Jo Napoli
Illustrated by Jim LaMarche
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