Little Bird

Germano Zullo, illus. by Albertine. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-59270-118-6
Shimmering, color-saturated landscapes and a message about cherishing small things make this English-language debut by a Swiss team an unexpected treasure. It’s about a man whose job, apparently, is to release a truckful of large, colorful birds into the endless expanse of a golden desert—perhaps they’ve been rehabilitated, or confiscated at the border of some unnamed country. He sets his flock free, but discovers a small black bird in the back of his truck who won’t leave. They share his lunchtime sandwich, after which he reminds the bird gently (and comically) how to fly. The bird leaves, but returns with an offer so enchanting that the man can’t refuse, and readers may long to join him. Zullo’s text lets the artwork do the storytelling, instead presenting a parallel series of spare philosophical reflections: “There are no greater treasures than the little things,” it concludes. “Just one is enough to change the world.” To enter into the spirit of the story, it’s best to sit down and pay close attention to it—just as the bird-delivery man does with the small black bird. Ages 5–up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
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