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Brian's Bird Hardcover – April, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-Brian, a blind child, gets a parakeet for his eighth birthday. He teaches Scratchy to talk and allows him to fly around the house, calling on his grandmother when help is needed to find his pet. His older brother Kevin is very supportive, but like many children, sometimes forgets to shut the door. One day the bird gets out, but fortunately, he only flies to a nearby tree and with Kevin's guidance, Brian is able to coax Scratchy onto his finger and to safety. The perilous open door is foreshadowed in the beginning of the book. This is a simple story featuring a loving African-American family. The brightly colored illustrations show the feelings of the boys and provide particularly good images of the bird. Use this book with Nicola Moon's Lucy's Picture (Dial, 1995) to show how children can lead normal lives even when dealing with a disability.
Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elementary School, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Brian, a young African American boy, is visually impaired. When he receives a parakeet for his birthday, he names it Scratchy because that's how the bird feels on his hand. Brian succeeds in teaching the bird to say "Hi Brian," and Scratchy becomes an important part of his life. Brian's older brother, Kevin, the bane of Brian's exsistence, carelessly leaves the front door open, and Scratchy flies away. By working together--Kevin spots the bird in the tree, and Brian gets him to jump on his finger--the boys get Scratchy to come home. The deceptively simple story credibly introduces several themes: sibling rivalry, dealing with a disability, and the loss of a pet. Johnson's bright, eye-catching artwork does a good job of capturing family life. Ilene Cooper
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Top customer reviews
This story of a blind boy who delights in his new pet parakeet is ideal for young readers. The book treats Brian's blindness in a positive manner. The scene in which he uses his sense of touch to solve the mystery of his birthday present gives young readers the opportunity to gain understanding of the special skills of a blind person. The description of how the bird's feet feel on Brian's finger is delightful.
Brian exhibits patience and persistence in teaching his bird. There is humor in the story, as when Brian hears someone calling his name, only to realize it is the bird. Once again, the author highlights the use of an alternate sense.
Brian's brother presents challenges for Brian from the opening pages of the book. Indeed, his brother's actions lead to the bird's flight from the house. The boys work together to solve the problem and sibling teamwork wins the day.
The book presents many opportunities for an adult reading this story to a young child to discuss a variety of issues. The book is also appropriate for young readers up to age 8 or 9 to read on their own.