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Little Red Bird: A Tale Told in Rhyme Hardcover – April 29, 2008
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—Life in a birdcage is good for Little Red Bird. Food, water, and reading material are always in ample supply. One day, she notices an interesting sight through the window and decides to venture out through the open cage door. She arrives in the park that had been beckoning to her and sees many wonderful new things—flowers, a fountain, a bench, and sticky trash. But when she spies her old home from afar, she begins to miss the comforts of her cage and must decide whether to return. Her story ends unresolved. "Should she stay?/Should she go?/She just didn't know…/I wonder what YOU would do?" Bruel relates this "grass-is-always-greener" tale in rhythmic verse that could use a little extra sparkle. The colorful watercolors show an eye for comic-book-style story progression, but the bird herself lacks the stroke of visual personality necessary to keep young audiences coming back. Despite the rough spots, Bruel's narrative invites discussion and could be considered as an additional purchase.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
When Little Red Bird sees that the door to her golden cage is open, she is faced with a quandary: stay in her home, or explore the unknown? Once she has toured the bedroom, the open window beckons. But after a long day outside, discovering the joys of a nearby park, Little Red Bird finds that she misses some aspects of caged life and debates about whether to return. Bruel, author of Bad Kitty (2005), does a good job of spinning a rather sophisticated theme in a kid-friendly manner, inviting children to ponder the bird’s dilemma with a repeated refrain: “I wonder what YOU would do?” Energetically mixing panels and full-page art, the illustrations point Little Red Bird (and readers) in a clear direction, showing human habitations as uninvitingly black, gray, and straight lined, while the park offers a riot of colors and shapes. The rhyming narrative, though sometimes forced, is appealingly bouncy and will draw children through the small hero’s exciting peregrinations until the final page, which hints at a satisfying conclusion while leaving room to wonder. Preschool-Grade 2. --Krista Hutley
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From the perspective of a parent I appreciate the way he was able to capture the interest of my children and spark a lot of conversation between us. They may not realize it, but they were dealing with some rather intellectual subject matter when they discussed the 'what's' and 'why's' of their answer to Mr. Bruel's burning question: "What would YOU do?"
It appears that from the perspective of my children, Little Red Bird was a lot of "Fun"! My little boy felt personally involved in Little Red Bird's adventure! He liked to take his finger and hop around the room with Little Red Bird... He liked to 'swoosh' his hand through the air (complete with sound effects) when Little Red Bird flew around outside!
At the end, when that question is asked, both of my kids got up off the couch and 'flew' around the room... I guess that answers that!
A very nice book that entertains and stimulates the brain in equal doses! I recommend it highly.
But it's the story itself that makes this book a stand-out. Bruel somehow manages to put into rhyme a weighty topic: Is it better to stay where it's safe and predictable, yet limiting? Or is it better to take some risks and stretch your wings?
What is GREAT is that the author does NOT answer the question for us! He doesn't even steer us one way or another. In fact, he makes a reader think that both options are valid choices -- and that you have to make the choice that's best for you. What a concept: a book that encourages us to think. Kids need more books like this.
So, teachers and parents alike out there, this is a great "thinking" story that would add to any conversation with children when they must weigh the pros and cons of their choices.