cover image THE LOVE-ME BIRD


Joyce Dunbar, , illus. by Sophie Fatus. . Scholastic/Orchard, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-439-47431-3

As Dunbar's (Tell Me Something Happy ) brief story starts, the feathered title character—clad in a pink frock—stands atop a tree, calling out, "Love me! Love me! Love me!" Though her plea brings no answer, she wakes up Shut-Eye the owl, who suggests alternative means of soliciting a suitor. When he advises her to try "Romance. Glamour. Finery and frills," the hopeful critter "plucked and primped and preened until her wings were shaped like hearts." All for naught, alas, as the continued crooning of her refrain still attracts no mate. Nor is she successful when she follows the owl's directives to act helpless, play hard to get or build a nest. The bewildered bird doesn't pick up on Shut-Eye's clue when, responding to her comment that the new nest will be a "love-me nest," he corrects her, calling it a "love-each-other nest." Finally, the wise owl recommends she change her tune to "Love you-ooo!" and another Love-Me bird swoops out of the sky to land at her side. Fatus's (The Story Tree ) stylized, cheerfully hued pictures reveal the lovelorn heroine in some amusing poses. Kids may well absorb this worthwhile message about the pitfalls of self-absorption and the rewards of focusing on the needs of others. All ages. (Jan.)