Friday, December 18, 2020

Starred review from Kirkus


cidimage001.gif@01D6D557.2B84E8D0I AM A BIRD [STARRED REVIEW!] 
Author: Hope Lim
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum

Review Issue Date: January 15, 2021
Online Publish Date: December 25, 2020
Pages: 32
Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-5362-0891-7
Section: Children's

True understanding comes from a willingness to look deeper.

In an idyllic seaside community rendered in soft colored pencil and bright paint, a young child flies to school on the back of Daddy’s bike. Both present Asian. Arms stretched wide, the child expresses joy and exclaims, “I am a bird.” Singing an exuberant bird song—“CA-CAW! CA-CAW!”—the smiling and waving narrator spreads happiness along the way. Along their route, passersby smile and wave in return, and even the birds sing back. One day, the child spots an older, White woman in a blue coat and carrying a big bag; she is walking past a mural painted with toothy animals and does not wave and smile. The predatory animals depicted in the mural openly gape at the woman throughout the story, manifesting the child’s growing dislike as they see her again, day after day. Soon, the child’s bird song stops whenever the woman is spotted. One day they are running late, and the child does not see the woman until catching a glance of her in a park. She is surrounded by birds, whispering her own bird song, and the child has an epiphany. In the final double-page spread, the child and woman reflect each other with raised heads and closed eyes, as they find they are the same: “We are birds.” The soft, textured illustrations expertly pair with the understated text and its beautifully simple, implicit message to look closer before jumping to conclusions. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.1-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 25.2% of actual size.)

A gentle story about connection that will connect with readers of all ages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

I Am A BIRD BCCB review

 Lim, Hope I Am a Bird

illus. by Hyewon Yum. Candlewick, 2021 [32p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781536208917 $16.99 Reviewed from digital galleys  R 2-4 yrs


A little girl rides in the seat behind her father as they bicycle through town, and she sings like a bird as they go. She loves to wave at the people that they pass, but she’s disconcerted by a very focused woman who doesn’t respond. Day after day, the girl ruminates on the lady, despite her father’s cheerful reassurance (“She’s just a lady taking a walk”). Then one day they see her in the park, feeding and singing to the birds, and the little girl recognizes a kindred spirit; the two exchange bird calls, and the little girl is ready to fly again now that she’s made a friend. Lim’s simple, heartfelt narration deftly captures the perturbation kids can develop around an adult who seems unfriendly, and there’s enough amiable reassurance to counterbalance the sympathy. Yum’s softly textured colored pencil and gouache illustrations capture the airy freedom of a zippy bike ride through a lovely seaside Korean (judging by store lettering) town. She’s particularly good at small, telling details, like the way our protagonist grabs a handful of her daddy’s jacket or peers around to experience the town in an entirely different way than her pilot. Kids who’ve had their own encounters with hard-to-slot adults will appreciate the validation and the encouraging outcome.  DS


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

I Am A Bird: Horn Book review


I Am a Bird

by Hope Lim; illus. by Hyewon Yum  Preschool Candlewick 32 pp. g  2/21 978-1-5362-0891-7 $16.99


A little girl and her father take regular bike rides through their coastal town. The girl, seated snugly in the booster seat behind her father, pretends to be a bird, repeatedly crying “CA-CAW!” In return, she receives friendly responses from the people they pass, but one elderly woman, walking with determination, doesn’t acknowledge the girl: “She does not wave. She does not smile.” Her lack of response concerns and frightens the child, and her joyful bird cries fade. But one day she sees the woman in the park, talking quietly to the birds that surround her. Finally, the girl and woman greet one another with bird calls. “I am a bird again. CA-CAW!” declares the child. Yum (Saturday Is Swimming Day, rev. 7/18) brings viewers a bright, light-infused outdoor world in a palette of sunny yellows, warm greens, and the velvety blue of the ocean. Lim’s plainspoken prose captures the perspective of a young child, especially in the dialogue (“Daddy, I don’t like her”) and, specifically, the fear the girl experiences and the way in which she recedes because of it. The connection she makes with the woman at story’s close is a moment of exuberance. It’s a tale that celebrates imagination; birds (the monochromatic drawings of graceful birds in flight on the endpapers are a highlight); and the value of getting past fears to discover that we all have more in common than we might think. JULIE DANIELSON