cover image A Home for Bird

A Home for Bird

Philip C. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-711-1

Stead (Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat) imagines what happens when Vernon, a sweetheart of a toad, takes an interest in a silent, unmoving blue bird with an oversize beak, button eyes, and striped peg legs. “Bird is shy,” Vernon explains to Skunk and Porcupine, “but also a very good listener.” Small panel illustrations of Vernon attempting to amuse Bird, who lies blank and staring wherever Vernon sets him down, draw immediate smiles. Determined to find Bird’s home, Vernon takes Bird down the river in a teacup. Vernon’s ideas about possible living places for Bird—a mailbox, a nest filled with eggs, a telephone wire—are misses, but Bird’s home finally turns up in a place both unexpected and perfectly natural. Stead creates characters that make readers care; Vernon’s compassion and faith have near-spiritual dimensions. And the scribbled artwork brims with small delights, like the attentive expressions of Skunk and Porcupine, draped with string—they’ve quietly appropriated Vernon’s yo-yo. But it’s the way Vernon consistently sees only the best in Bird that makes this story a keeper. Ages 3–8. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (June)