cover image Fly with the Birds: A Word and Rhyme Book

Fly with the Birds: A Word and Rhyme Book

Richard Edwards. Orchard Books (NY), $12.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-09491-4

Edwards (The Forest Child) and Kitamura (When Sheep Cannot Sleep) follow a child through an ordinary day in this well-organized, imaginatively designed vocabulary-builder. Each spread includes a triptych of the blond narrator's daily activities, a poem and a gatefold flap that lifts to reveal the poem's final line. On the flap appears a group of words and pictures that can be matched to the illustrations. When the child imagines escaping a traffic jam, for instance (""Stuck in the traffic, we creep and we crawl,/ Buses and cars hardly moving at all,/ So closing my eyes, I say two magic words.../ Hey, presto! A bus that can fly with the birds!""), the vocabulary list sends readers on a search for a bicycle, van and trailer; the first picture shows passengers sitting miserably on a stalled bus, but the concealed picture is of a bus hoisted into the air by a flock of birds. Edwards's 11 rhymes about pets, shopping and the weather prove serviceable at best. However, Kitamura's angular illustrations, drawn with a steady pen and filled with compatible solid colors, nicely serve the word-game setup. Despite the complex arrangement of images, text and gatefolds, the overall effect is invitingly clean. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)