Paper Bird

Arcadio Lobato, Author, Emilio Urberuaga, Illustrator Carolrhoda Books $18.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-87614-817-4
Charm, whimsy and a subtle message about the importance of art are the primary ingredients in this refreshing collaboration that marks an auspicious artistic debut. A paper bird, drawn by an artist as a gift for his daughter, has his dreams of flying answered when the artist's cat tosses him out the window. But the paper bird yearns to fly up as well as down, so a trio of friendly ravens direct him to the wise owl for advice (``We are simple ravens and do not know about such things as talking paper birds''). Ultimately a gaggle of city birds pegs the problem: ``That's not a real bird at all! That's art!... Art is never really alive.'' In a heartening twist, however, the paper bird gets his wish-and youngsters are reminded that dreams can, sometimes unexpectedly, come true. Occasionally calling to mind the work of Tony Ross, Urberuaga's sketchy pen-and-watercolor drawings are a glowing complement to Lobato's stylish, often tongue-in-cheek tale. His simply drawn but expressive characters add a wry dimension, while shifts in palette effortlessly suggest the changing locales. Like its hero, this tale flies high. Ages 5-9. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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