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Bluebird Hardcover – April 9, 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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 Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* With only a few hues of blue, a rainbow of steely grays, and a set of geometric shapes, Staake’s wordless picture book explores friendship, wildlife, sacrifice, death, and hope. A young boy’s drab world of loneliness gets a splash of color when he meets a perky bluebird. They share a cookie, get ignored by a pickup soccer game, and play in a pond before wandering into an ominous woods. There a squad of bullies turns the day into a tragedy, with the bird lying lifeless on the ground. An uplifting bit of magic closes the story, and the boy is comforted as the bird is reunited with the clouds and sky. In a mix of full-page artwork and small scenes arranged in sequential panels, Staake works out an impressive range of emotion, from the serene whimsy of cloud gazing to the cruel pointlessness of death, in his distinctive circle-and-square-based artwork. Without use of a single word (outside of a few pieces of signage to place the story in a New York–style city), this book raises all kinds of simple profundities for kids to question, ponder, imagine, and discuss. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375870377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375870378
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 0.4 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of Bob Staake and couldn't wait to buy this book. It is a stunning picturebook but (spoiler alert) for the little bird to die in the end (my opinion but the bird doesn't get better) is not my kind of picturebook. I don't know any little one who would want to view this book twice.
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Format: Hardcover
I shared this book with my fourth graders on the first day of school. It was a great way to discuss bullying and the effects it has on others! At one part of the book the class gasped, and I knew they were hooked! This book hasn't been on my shelf since! Students love looking at it over and over again!
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Format: Hardcover
Has no one seen The Red Balloon (1956 French book/movie)? This book, although beautifully done, is nothing but a copy of The Red Balloon. It is hard to believe that this work can be deemed anything but a reproduction once you see the little boy being carried off by the balloons of Paris (after his beloved Red Balloon is burst by bullies). Both wordless books, both with a "friend" killed by bullies, both seen in the end carried away over the city. Check out the original and you will see for yourself that this is nothing but a story retold outside of Paris.
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Format: Hardcover
There are so many lessons to be learned in the pages of Bluebird from bullying, loneliness, dealing with loss and letting go. I'm so very impressed with how Staake manages to weave all of these points together in only 40 pages with pictures alone.

Bluebird follows the story of a young boy who is friendless and the victim of bullying at school. He's excluded from group recess activities and teased in class. Meanwhile, a small bluebird watches the boy and proceeds to follow him after school releases. A friendship between the two is forged and it's put to the test during a tension-filled ending.

Bluebird really surprised me with the fact that I didn't think it would be so deep. I expected a usual picture book along with text to read out loud to my daughter. Instead, Bluebird is told entirely through beautiful illustrations shaded in black, white and blues. Each page is also broken into smaller panels to depict the next part of the narration and the passage of time. I was immediately taken with style because it reminds me of children's graphic novel, but much more simplified. However, my 5-year-old had difficultly understanding what was taking place in the book because it's not a style she is used to. In fact, the first thing she said when we started reading was, "Where are the words? I need the words!" So it's a bit of a learning curve for younger readers, but what the narration lacks in simplicity makes up for with the fascinating illustrations.

The ending to Bluebird also surprised me and I'll admit to not realizing the severity of what transpired until after I went back and re-read the blurb. It seems like the ending is set up in two ways.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter is an empath, so when I showed her this book, she went ahead and pre-cried before we even opened it up! So touching, thoughtful, meaningful, timely. The ending was predictable - but not! I cried, too.
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Format: Hardcover
Definitely a book written for adults and older children. Although death is certainly not an inappropriate topic for younger children if handled respectfully, the violence of the birds death in this book is much too intense for young children. My 5 year old was very upset and even came into my room crying in the middle of the night because she couldn't stop thinking about it. I never would have bought the book if I had known how it ended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a child I was bullied and never really cared for how it was look at by society. They tell you to toughen up, be a man, etc etc. But it is different when you are the one that happens too, instead of the one giving advice. This book is amazing, tearful, and related very well to those that have been there.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most powerful picture story. I use it in the classroom for teacher candidates to appreciate the influence books have on students. It can be used in a variety of lessons, extended to varied age groups and abilities groups, and is profound in its impact. So beautifully done. Excellent !
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