Jul 15, 2014

Welcome, Brown Bird

by Mary Lyn Ray

I got this book at the library because I wanted to find more picture books with illustrations I love looking at. So I searched for some of the illustrators I've really admired in past books. This one has lovely oil paintings by Peter Sylvada, whose work I first saw in Gleam and Glow. (I thought I had written about that one, but can't find it anywhere on my blog! Must remedy that...)

The book is about a bird, a brown nondescript bird with a lovely flutelike song. On a farm a boy waits for late spring, when he always hears the song of the thrush. When his father wants to clear some land for a corn field, the boy begs him to leave the trees standing, because that is where the thrush lives. His father agrees. In fall the bird flies away and the boy waits all winter to hear it again. Meanwhile, in another part of the world a different boy waits for summer to end, waits for the rainy season when he will hear the thrush's song. His father also wants to clear trees off the land, and this boy too begs to leave them alone- for that is where the bird lives, the bird with a voice like a clay flute. This father too, agrees, and the boy listens all winter until the thrush disappears in springtime. Neither boy knows where the thrush goes when it leaves them, but they are tied together.

In the afterward the author gives some information about migratory birds, particularly the thrush, and how they are threatened by habitat loss. It's an important message beautifully communicated. I love looking at the pictures- the rich texture, the broad paintbrush strokes that suggest just enough form to let your mind fill in the rest.

Rating: 4/5      32 pages, 2004

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1 comment:

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Wow. This sounds lovely.