cover image A Bird Day

A Bird Day

Eva Lindström, trans. from the Swedish by Julia Marshall. Gecko, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77657-527-5

This offbeat slice-of-life story by Astrid Lindgren Award recipient Lindström opens as Lena introduces themself and brother Bo—two birds with spindly legs and spaghetti-like hair. “We’re sitting in a ditch, waiting,” Lena explains. “We’re going to play car chicken.” When a vehicle nears them, they linger until the very last moment (“so close we can’t stand it”), then wing away (“It’s dangerous. We could get run over”). Back home, Papa complains when Mama prepares flies for lunch, and an argument about cooking results in Papa making worm pie for dinner (Bo picks out the worms on one plate, eating only the shell). Lindström creates comically tedious aspects of young songbird life that resemble human existence, adding in uniquely birdlike facets (in a game called Fainting: “Just as we’re about to hit the ground, we fly up again. We do it over and over”). The family’s house and its surroundings are painted in earthy greens and grays, with details worth regarding. Nothing earth-shattering happens in this workaday portrait of an avian family; instead, amusement comes from the view of birds as having so much—bickering, boredom, complaining—in common with humans. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)