Little Bird’s Bad Word

Jacob Grant. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-05149-3
Grant (Scaredy Kate) drolly addresses the delicate matter of cursing in this forest tale. Readers first see red-feathered Little Bird flying alongside his brown-feathered father, who is carrying an earthworm. “Lunch is extra wriggly today!” chirps Papa Bird, who accidentally drops the worm and blurts out, “Blark!” Despite his father’s protests (“That’s not a word for little birds”), Little Bird shouts the expletive to an unamused frog, moose, fish, and ladybug. After he startles his friend Turtle, Little Bird overhears his father explaining, “He’s learning that words can be hurtful.” Little Bird apologizes. On the closing page—after avoiding the birds for several pages—the recaptured worm gets the last word: “Blark.” Grant’s cuddly woodland creatures have expressive eyes whose pinpoint pupils convey shock and widen to convey warmth. Were this real life, one of them (maybe even Papa Bird) would find “blark” hilarious, and Grant himself plays it for shock and humor alike. Beneath the finger-wagging, he leaves the impression that there may be a time, place, and appropriate age for “big bird” words. Ages 4–7. Agent: Steven Chudney, Chudney Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 07/21/2015
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