The Lion and the Bird

Marianne Dubuc, trans. from the French by Claudia Z. Bedrick. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $17.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-59270-151-3
Dubuc (Animal Masquerade) tells the story of an intimate friendship with few words, light lines, and gentle colors. Gardening in his yard one autumn day, Lion finds a bird with a broken wing. The other birds are flying south, but this bird can’t. “You’re welcome to stay with me,” Lion offers. The two spend the winter together, dwelling in perfect contentment in Lion’s cozy, round-roofed hut. Dubuc makes the most of their disparate sizes. The bird nestles in Lion’s knitted cap as Lion goes tobogganing and ice fishing, and he sleeps in one of Lion’s fuzzy slippers. In the spring, he perches on a twig and gestures toward the other birds. “Yes,” nods Lion. “I know.” As the bird flies off, Dubuc draws the abandoned Lion from the viewpoint of the departing bird; a page turn shows him again, smaller, diminished, the paw that holds his hat hanging. He resumes his solitary life, but when autumn returns, he’s seen with his eyes closed, wishing. Readers will rejoice with him when the bird returns. It’s a remarkably moving, and—considering it features two animals—deeply human story. Ages 4–up. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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