Bird & Birdie: In a Fine Day
Ethan Long, Author . Tricycle $14.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-58246-32
Unlike the well-defined characters in classic children's books about friendship such as Frog and Toad, George and Martha, or even the more recent Dog and Bear, the two friends in these three stories seem like male and female clones of a single character, except for Birdie's yellow plumage, pink hair bow, and exaggerated eyelashes. The book unfolds entirely through repetitious dialogue between the birds that appears in speech bubbles: “ 'Hello.' 'Oh, hello!' 'How are you?' 'I'm fine! How are you?' 'I'm GREAT! Isn't it a beautiful morning?' 'Yes, it IS a beautiful morning!' ” The plot is largely moved forward in nearly wordless scenes with sound effects (like the “crack!” of lightning) or words added to indicate emotion (the birds “sniff” sadly when they're apart). The stories are upbeat and simple, as the birds find each other after being separated in a storm, have some misadventures while hunting worms, and share the lettuce-like leaves of their nests. The dialogue is appropriate for beginners, but the bland stories and characters offer little to grab readers' attention or imagination. Ages 3–5.
Reviewed on: 03/29/2010