cover image The Scarebird

The Scarebird

Sid Fleischman. Greenwillow Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07317-6

The collaborators on the Newbery Medal-winning book The Whipping Boy have created a picture book that explores the rare nature of friendship. One day Lonesome John, an old farmer, jams straw into some old clothes and puts up a scarecrow. Every time he looks up from his chores, he sees the headless creature. Then one morning he decides to make a head and face for the scarecrow; a little later, he gives the scarecrow a hat and clothes, and then a raincoat. Early one evening, when Lonesome John is out ``playing checkers'' with the scarecrow, a weary-looking boy named Sam arrives, who offers to work for a meal or two. As Sam works around the farm, John takes the gloves, hat, raincoat and shoes off the scarecrow and gives them to the boy. A while later, Sam announces that he must leave. But Lonesome John suggests he stay a little longer . . . to help with the harvest and to play checkers. Fleischman has once again created two unforgettable characters; Sis uses oil paintings to create wide-open landscapes and settings that generously reflect the shifting relationships of John, Scarebird and Sam. Ages 5-up. (September)