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



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