cover image A Funny Little Bird

A Funny Little Bird

Jennifer Yerkes. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $12.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8013-9

First published in France, this slim, stylish fable introduces a bird that blends in very well with its surroundings—other than its dot eyes, carroty nose, and purple stick legs, the bird is entirely white, all but disappearing against the book’s white backgrounds. Only when the bird stands against a cluster of leaves or colorful sheets hanging from a clothesline does its swoopy silhouette become visible. The bird is made fun of (ostensibly because of its difference, though the reason isn’t made entirely clear), so it “went away.” On the road, the “funny little bird” meets a bird with beautiful feathers and finds some equally vibrant foliage, which the near-invisible bird collects to create some couture peacocklike plumage of secondhand feathers, ferns, and more. These make other animals take notice—especially predators. The story has similarities to Aesop’s parable “The Vain Jackdaw,” but things end more happily for this bird. Considering how pared down and elemental Yerkes’s illustrations are, they generate quite a bit of visual humor and suspense, not to mention personality for the story’s silent hero. Ages 4–up. (May)