cover image Wordy Birdy

Wordy Birdy

Tammi Sauer, illus. by Dave Mottram. Doubleday, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1929-6

Wordy Birdy is the definition of a flibbertigibbet, and she’s not a little narcissistic (“Do you think there’s an award for Bird of the Year?”). Above all, she’s a terrible listener. But Wordy Birdy’s patient friends—Squirrel, Rabbit, and Raccoon—still care about her, and when she ignores their warnings and stumbles into the path of a hungry bear, they intervene and guide her to safety. It’s a slight story, and Wordy Birdy’s escape from the bear doesn’t register—readers may think they skipped a page. But Sauer (Truck, Truck, Goose!) and Mottram (Race Car Dreams) work hard to ingratiate themselves. The characters’ comic expressions have a genial, sitcom familiarity, Wordy Birdy’s prattling is suitably inane (“My third cousin Barb is a penguin. Really!”), and there’s some droll breaking of the fourth wall. When the narrator tries to underplay Wordy Birdy’s inattentiveness, Rabbit looks at the audience and remarks “Oh, puh-lease,” while Raccoon dryly asks, “Are we talking about the same bird here?” Ages 3–7. [em]Author’s agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agency: Bright Group. (Feb.) [/em]