cover image Little Bird Takes a Bath

Little Bird Takes a Bath

Marisabina Russo. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-385-37014-1

As far as Little Bird is concerned, a rainstorm is only good for one thing: creating a “perfect puddle” to use as a bathtub once it’s nice and sunny. But every time he settles into his puddle in a city park and begins his ablutions, something (like ball-bouncing, puddle-jumping children) comes along to scare him and, worse yet, make the puddle smaller. Russo’s (Sophie Sleeps Over) ostensibly simple premise, toylike renderings, and schoolroom palette seem to point to a pleasant story with low emotional stakes. But there’s actually something more going on that readers should find deeply resonant. Little Bird is a creature of strong opinions (“Little Bird didn’t like rain. He didn’t like rain at all”) who just wants to accomplish one important thing in an environment that offers little control and many obstacles. For Russo’s increasingly independent-minded target audience, that’s pretty much daily life. So when Little Bird finally discovers a right-sized “splashy, swirly” fountain where he can have his bath, it’s no wonder that his faith in the world is restored. When you’re small, little victories can feel very big. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)