cover image Lonely Bird

Lonely Bird

Ruth Whiting. Candlewick, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-536-22618-8

Lonely Bird, an ephemeral pencil sketch on white paper, steps off the page and explores a suburban home in this quiet friendship story. “Do you think they even know I am here?” the paperclip-size cutout wonders, watching the pale-skinned family’s children play outdoors. Using tape, a rubber band, and a ragged edge of notebook paper, Lonely Bird crafts a companion, referencing the image of an Henri Rousseau lion. When the fragile paper lion is vacuumed up, Lonely Bird waits for nightfall, then heads “into the sleeping monster’s throat” to retrieve her friend. Whiting illustrates in naturalistic oil paintings, with the winsome, minimalist Lonely Bird collaged into the spreads. Reminiscent of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, the story’s drama unfolds at the margins of human domesticity and never shakes off its tender melancholy. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)