cover image Tree of Birds

Tree of Birds

Susan Meddaugh. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-53147-1

``Oh, Mom,'' says Harry, arriving home with a wounded bird in his arms. ``Oh my!'' responds his mother, in the sort of understatement found--in words and pictures--throughout this delightful book. It is clear that Harry's broken-winged bird, whom he names Sally, is no ordinary sparrow or pigeon. She is, according to the boy's bird book, a Green Tufted Tropical, a species that cannot tolerate cold weather. This concerns Harry, as winter is on its way. But something else arrives first: an enormous flock of Green Tufted Tropicals, anxious to find Sally. Harry tries everything, but he can't get the persistent creatures to leave their perch in a tree outside his window. When the temperature drops and the first snowfall is forecast, the chattering birds turn blue, but Harry comes to their rescue in an unexpected way. Meddaugh strikes just the right balance between the absurd and the credible in this fanciful tale; children will reach for it again and again. Ages 5 - 8. (Mar.)