cover image On Bird Hill

On Bird Hill

Jane Yolen, illus. by Bob Marstall. Cornell Lab Publishing Group (Legato, dist.), $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-943645-02-2

First in a planned series (a portion of proceeds will benefit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), this dreamy story follows a child and his dog on a stroll by the sea. Writing in characteristically well- structured verse, Yolen (the How Do Dinosaurs... series) echoes the story line of the nursery rhyme “The Green Grass Grew All Around,” starting broadly (“As I was walking on Bird Hill,/ Though it was day, the moon shone still”) then narrowing in on a tree, twig, bird, and nest. Inside, the boy sees “an egg,/ A little chick, all beak, wing, leg.” Marstall (Butternut Hollow Pond) brings a slight Seussian weirdness to the setting—the narrowest of paths swoops around chartreuse hills, while impossibly skinny trees taper into branches capped by yellow, tendril-like flowers. When the chick hatches, the inside of its shell is a world unto itself, a nighttime scene featuring a house that looks like the one the boy calls home. It’s a sweetly surreal meditation on the everyday wonders that await in the wild. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (May)