Eep!

Joke Van Leeuwen, Author, Bill Nagelkerke, Translator
Joke van Leeuwen, trans. from the Dutch by Bill Nagelkerke. Gecko (Lerner, dist.), $7.95 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-8775-7907-3
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 01/01/2012
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Originally published in the Netherlands, van Leeuwen’s fable-like fantasy revolves around a half-girl/half-bird and her effect on the people whose lives she touches. Named Birdy by Warren and Tina, a childless couple whose life she literally falls into, the bird-girl calls herself Beedy, due to her difficulties with pronunciation. She develops a habit of flying away without warning and abruptly leaves Warren and Tina, arriving in the bedroom of motherless Lottie, an imaginative child who had always believed that “one day, someone or something extraordinary would be waiting for her when she got home.” Lottie is good to her—as were Warren and Tina—but Beedy leaves her, too. The bird-girl somehow fills such a deep need in everyone she encounters that they are compelled to search for her; soon, there is a group of four, Chicken Little–style, on her trail. Coincidences and near misses proliferate, culminating at a peculiar hotel where eccentric, troubled people come to be cured. While melodically translated and accompanied by van Leeuwen’s amusing line drawings, the somewhat bewildering tale may leave some readers scratching their heads. Ages 9–up. (Mar.)
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