cover image Two Many Birds

Two Many Birds

Cindy Derby. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-23254-0

“Maximum Occupancy 100 Birds” says the sign on a tree—it’s a leafless specimen, but it’s also the only tree in sight, and demand among the bird community is huge. Ensuring order is a ticketing system flanked by queuing birds with fluorescent plumage and eccentric outfits, and a bird monitor dressed in contrasting black who sits in a lifeguard chair. The monitor’s initial warnings (“No running”) are not unlike what readers may hear at home and in school. Then it becomes clear that its chastening authority is both arbitrary and overreaching (“No nesting!/ No resting!/ No hair gel!/ No nudity!!!”), and the mood among those perching turns grim. The birth of two chicks proves the tipping point: when the monitor flies into a rage, the flock drives it away in a feathered, furious frenzy, becoming a single entity to be reckoned with. Now everyone is miserable: the monitor loses purpose, and the tree becomes an overcrowded mess. But Derby (How to Walk an Ant), who proves her wholly original talent once again, devises a solution that makes the most of everyone’s desires and their talents. Funny, socially relevant, and visually engrossing, this one is worth perching prominently on the shelf. Ages 3–6.[em] (Nov.) [/em]