cover image Two Little Birds

Two Little Birds

Mary Newell DePalma. Eerdmans, $16 (36p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5421-6

In an author’s note, DePalma (Bow-Wow Wiggle Waggle) explains that her story is based on the migration of orchard orioles from the northeast U.S. to Central America and back, a journey that includes a daunting 18-hour flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Her lyrically told story opens with the birth of two birds in a nest assembled from layered scraps of paper: “The little birds did what little birds do. They fed, they frolicked, they grew.” After the birds witness a nocturnal migration, they join right in, their golden bodies shining against purple-blue skies thick with clouds. When the birds are tossed, “rumble flash boom,” by a storm, collaged bits of roadmaps underscore their disarray; just before they attempt to cross the Gulf, DePalma pictures them as dark specks on an immense beach beneath a vast, clear sky: “Now what do we do?” The birds eventually reach their tropical destination and make the return trip without incident—stronger and ready to start a new family. The subtext that the young and tiny are capable of remarkable feats won’t be lost on readers. Ages 5–9. (Feb.)