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Comment: 100% guaranteed delivery with Fulfillment By Amazon. Pages of this book are crisp and clean. Pages of this book are clean. This book shows minor shelf wear associated with limited use. This paperback book shows standard shelf wear associated with limited use. This is a discarded Library book with normal library stamping and stickers. Purchase of this item will benefit the Friends of the Houston Public Library.
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Mole and the Baby Bird Hardcover – September 7, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This sweet, simple story from Marjorie Newman (The King and the Cuddly) and award-winning Scottish illustrator Patrick Benson (The Sea-Thing Child) somehow avoids cliché while teaching one of life's oldest lessons: if you love something, you really shouldn't hold it prisoner in a tiny, handmade wooden cage.

With spare text, Newman explains how Mole finds a baby bird that has fallen out of its nest, apparently abandoned. ("Mole waited and waited, but no big bird came to help it.") He takes the tiny bird home to keep, despite his parents' warnings: "'It's my pet bird,' said Mole. 'It's not a pet bird. It's a wild bird,' said his mother." Eventually, the baby bird tries to fly, and the earnest, industrious Mole builds a cage (with the bird's help!) to keep him from leaving. ("He put the bird into its new cage. The bird was sad. Mole's mother was sad, too. But Mole kept his bird, because he loved it.") Eventually, it falls to visiting Grandad to gently nudge Mole into doing what he knows he must.

As in The Sea-Thing Child (with Russell Hoban), Benson's understated artwork helps to keep this fairly adult message accessible for wee ones, with thoughtful compositions that carry the meter towards the book's inevitable end. But Benson's most memorable accomplishment is the subtly sad and comic baby bird, who regularly peeks out to look directly at the reader. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

With just a sentence or two per page, British author Newman conveys to youngest readers the importance of allowing others to be free to be themselves. When young Mole happens upon an abandoned baby bird, he brings the tiny creature home with him. Mole quickly falls into the caretaker role assisted by his kind but realistic mother (It's very, very hard to take care of a baby bird) building the bird a nest and gathering it some food. But as the bird grows healthy and shows signs of wanting to fly, Mole confines his feathered friend to a wooden cage. Eventually, his parents gentle remarks (when Mole calls it his pet bird, each parent in turn replies, It s not a pet bird. It's a wild bird) and a hilltop walk with his grandfather help lead Mole to the conclusion that the baby bird deserves its freedom. With a quietly resonating tone, Newman tackles heart-tugging issues the responsibilities of pet care, the pain of loss, respect for the natural world that many parents will find familiar. Benson's (Owl Babies) serene ink-and-watercolor illustrations capture springtime in the country in all its sunny, leafy-green finery. With cozy accents, a quilt, a china cupboard, a stack of picture books, carefully placed windows he manages to make Mole's underground home equally bright and inviting. And the cast of critters each a skillful cross between realistic and anthropomorphic is sure to charm. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Lexile Measure: 120L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books; 1 edition (September 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582347840
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582347844
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Such a sweet book. One of our favorites.
Book came as expected. Used, but in good condition with the cover jacket intact, with the nice addition of an added plastic cover, as it had apparently once been a public library book.
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Format: Hardcover
First grade students complimented the charming watercolor illustrations, THEN noted that this story is both happy and sad. When Mole finds an abandoned baby bird, he takes it home. He builds a nest for his new charge, finds it food, and learns how to feed it. When the bird flutters its wings to fly, Mole builds a cage. Thankfully, grandfather arrives just in time and helps Mole learn the lesson of love and loss. First graders waited with bated breath for the story's conclusion. Would Mole set the baby bird free?
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Format: Board book
My husband picked this up for my son (18 months) at our local independent bookstore. Since then, it is a consistent favorite - not just with our son, but with the entire family. It is beautifully told, a lovely tale, and wonderfully illustrated. I actually came on this site hoping to find more of her books in print. I believe it is a story that will bear re-telling for years to come.
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Format: Hardcover
God works in mysterious ways. This is THE PERFECT book to help explain the very difficult subject of disrupted adoption and/or foster care. I had been searching for weeks to find a children's book to help us (therapists) break this difficult news to two twin boys along with their adoptive parents. There is very little on the subject of disrupted adoption for adults, let alone children. The boys' adoptive mother just happened to pick up the book in the library today, just hours before the appointment. She read it aloud to them in the session to help open the discussion. The boys were able to relate to the story and though it was a very difficult day, this wonderful, moving story will help all the adults involved (new foster parents as well) help the children to process this. Once I secure several copies of this book (one for each twin and their mother as well as one for me and the clinic I work for) I will put this information on all the adoption sites I am familiar with. Unfortunately, this is a book from the UK and seems to be a bit scarce here. I am trying to find a way to contact the author to relay how special this book is, if anyone can help with that I would appreciate it. Amazon should add tags about foster care and adoption to this book. Please know that these parents did everything they could to try to keep these boys in the family, but they had to consider the safety of all the children in the home.
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Format: Hardcover
My 3-year-old daughter and I get a huge stack of books from the library every couple of weeks -- "Mole and the Baby Bird" was in our last stack. While my daughter's tastes are erratic, I absolutely love this book -- in fact, this is the first children's book I've felt inspired by enough to write a review. The simplicity of the language ("Then he cried.") makes the simple story incredibly moving and raw. Each time I read about baby bird alone in his dark cage (especially with the wonderful imagery) my voice chokes up -- even after multiple readings. Well done!
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
This is a a nicely illustrated book, but touches upon subjects of death and learning to say goodbye to special friends/pets. Not what I was expecting. I bought the book per-owned - unfortunately the vendor said it was in "good" condition, but it arrived with serious water damage and some pages were moldy so I threw it out. The vendor gets no stars for their service.
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Format: Hardcover
Mole finds a baby bird and wants to keep it as a pet. He loves his bird so much but realizes, with the help of Granddad Mole, that the bird is meant to fly.
The lesson of loving and letting go is a special one in this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This small story is a gem: simply told, beautifully illustrated. The story - young Mole saves a baby bird that has fallen from the nest, cages it because he doesn't want to lose it, then learns to free it because he loves it - conveys a familiar lesson. But it is deft, never heavy-handed, with lessons for parents as well as children. Mole's parents tell him he should let the bird go, but cannot convince him. His wiser grandfather gives Mole a taste of the joy of flight; Mole learns his lesson from experience, not authority.

Best of all, our daughter loves it.
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