cover image A House for Every Bird

A House for Every Bird

Megan Maynor, illus. by Kaylani Juanita. Knopf, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-984896-48-3

A young brown-skinned artist draws an eclectic group of birds in this funny and subtly incisive story, each with a quirky house that matches their color or size: “Red for red,/ tall for tall./ A house/ for one,/ a house/ for all.” But the creations immediately balk—and squawk—at being pigeonholed based on their looks. Blue Bird and Orange Bird insist on swapping houses (“Blue is my vibe—so cool, so calm,” says Orange Bird); a diminutive bird wants larger digs to accommodate a huge singing group, and Large Bird prefers snug quarters “where I can touch all the walls at once.” Seeing their rebellion as nothing short of ingratitude, the child gestures in frustration: “How was I supposed to KNOW what you like?”—“ASK US!” is the reply. Both Maynor’s (Helga Makes a Name for Herself) dialogue text and Juanita’s (When Aidan Became a Brother) digital art have a loose, improvisational feel that captures the thrill and frustration of a work in progress—and the value of empathy and flexibility in getting to know others. Ages 3–6. [em]Author’s agent: Minju Chang, BookStop Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. (Feb.) [/em]