Grumpy Bird

Jeremy Tankard, Author . Scholastic $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-85147-3

Anyone can sympathize with a blue bird who wakes up on the wrong side of the nest. Bird, whose rounded head is outlined in a thick swath of ink, squeezes one eye shut while scowling with the other. He hunches his shoulders like a budgie. The branches of his tree are rendered in diluted swipes of ink, and the sky, a weighty underwater blue despite the optimistic rising sun, mirrors his mood. Bird "was too grumpy to play. In fact, he was too grumpy to fly. 'Looks like I'm walking today,' said Bird." Squinting, Bird stomps through the meadow on pinlike legs, encountering animals one at a time. Each greets him and casually asks, "What are you doing?" Bird does not welcome their friendly overtures ("Let me give you a hint... You do it by placing one foot in front of the other"), yet they join him on his hike, and soon he leads a parade of a Sheep, Rabbit, Raccoon, Beaver and Fox. In their playful company, Bird finds it hard to stay grumpy. Graphic illustrator Tankard, a contributor to Wild Outdoor World making his children's book debut, draws his cartoonish animals in brushlike strokes of carbon-black ink, and digitally tints the forest scenery. His appealing title and cover close-up of the hero say it all: this uncomplicated paper-over-board book describes a common condition and a way out of a bad mood for surly birds, whatever their species. Ages 3-5. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Children's
Board Books - 30 pages - 978-0-545-87182-2
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