Funny Little Bird

( 1 )

Overview

2013 Society of Illustrators, Original Art Gold Medal Winner

A lonely, invisible bird mistakenly believes that adorning himself with flashy feathers and flowers will make him beautiful and win him new friends. Except his plan quickly backfires when his magnificent plumage attracts the attention of everyone, even the fox! In his rush to safety the little bird loses every last bit of his new decorations, making him invisible once again. Except now in place of his loneliness is the...

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Overview

2013 Society of Illustrators, Original Art Gold Medal Winner

A lonely, invisible bird mistakenly believes that adorning himself with flashy feathers and flowers will make him beautiful and win him new friends. Except his plan quickly backfires when his magnificent plumage attracts the attention of everyone, even the fox! In his rush to safety the little bird loses every last bit of his new decorations, making him invisible once again. Except now in place of his loneliness is the knowledge that putting others first is the key to friendship and high self-esteem.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First published in France, this slim, stylish fable introduces a bird that blends in very well with its surroundings—other than its dot eyes, carroty nose, and purple stick legs, the bird is entirely white, all but disappearing against the book’s white backgrounds. Only when the bird stands against a cluster of leaves or colorful sheets hanging from a clothesline does its swoopy silhouette become visible. The bird is made fun of (ostensibly because of its difference, though the reason isn’t made entirely clear), so it “went away.” On the road, the “funny little bird” meets a bird with beautiful feathers and finds some equally vibrant foliage, which the near-invisible bird collects to create some couture peacocklike plumage of secondhand feathers, ferns, and more. These make other animals take notice—especially predators. The story has similarities to Aesop’s parable “The Vain Jackdaw,” but things end more happily for this bird. Considering how pared down and elemental Yerkes’s illustrations are, they generate quite a bit of visual humor and suspense, not to mention personality for the story’s silent hero. Ages 4–up. (May)
From the Publisher
"A sweet story with a sublimely subtle but infinitely clever premise and ending, this is a tale about adaptation, camouflage, acceptance, pride, and standing out by blending in. It's a metaphor for introverts and the unsung heroes in our lives. Strange and lovely all at once, here's one book that turns simplicity into an art . . . Beautiful with a wit of its own, Yerkes shows that you don't have to be flashy to be remarkable. " - Besty Bird, School Library Journal's A Fuse 8 Production

"This sweet tale about a precocious young bird helps kids learn what humility, kindness and selflessness are all about." - Working Mother

"The simple, jewel-toned illustrations pop against abundant white space, making a crisp and vivid presentation . . . Yerkes gives a nod of respect to the youngest readers with a sprinkling of more sophisticated vocabulary and elegantly understated art that blend together in a sweet and lovely package.
" - School Library Journal

"The artist explores with gentle humor the meaning of identity, both visual and metaphorical . . . This highly original and thought-provoking picture book will appeal to the peek-a-boo sensibilities of the youngest readers and also have aesthetic appeal for parents." - Kirkus

"In this inspiring debut picture book, a white feathered hero feels invisible—until he discovers that what he thought was a drawback is, in fact, an asset." - Shelf Awareness for Readers

"[A] slim, stylish fable . . . Considering how pared down and elemental Yerkes's illustrations are, they generate quite a bit of visual humor and suspense, not to mention personality for the story's silent hero." - Publishers Weekly

"There are hundreds of books about being different and embracing one's uniqueness. Ironically, A Funny Little Bird by graphic artist Jennifer Yerkes about a lonely, invisible bird, truly stands out! . . . Yerkes's crsip yet sparse artwork manages to be fluid, fresh and fun, a beautiful blend of Jon Klassen meets Lois Ehlert. A Funny Little Bird is truly this year's must have for self-esteem building! " - Good Reads with Ronna, Parenthood.com

"Jennifer Yerkes likewise celebrates the fun of forms found in negative space in her tale of an "almost invisible" bird who appears mostly as an absence. . . . flat, bright shapes collude with white space to yield the joy of discovery for the viewer . . . Grade A." - Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The small trim size and generous white space throughout help emphasize the underlying moral: that pride and fancy adornments may not be the best policy if you want to make friends . . . the intriguing art elevates this book." - Horn Book

"Fresh and innovative . . . [a] remarkable debut picture book." - Shelf Awareness Pro

School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—The artwork is the charm of this petite picture book. The simple, jewel-toned illustrations pop against abundant white space, making a crisp and vivid presentation. Spare text tells the tale of an invisible bird that is tired of being teased for his appearance (or lack of one) and decides to adorn himself with a hodgepodge of leaves, blooms, and feathers from other birds. He gets noticed, but it's at a price: one of his admirers is a fox. The bird realizes his invisibility is a quality that benefits not only him but small friends as well, since he can camouflage them from predators. With only a few words per page, the book can serve either as a quick read-aloud or an accessible text for early readers. Refreshingly, Yerkes gives a nod of respect to the youngest readers with a sprinkling of more sophisticated vocabulary ("vanity," "souvenir," "discreet," etc.) and elegantly understated art that blend together in a sweet and lovely package.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
Kirkus Reviews
The funny little white bird is almost invisible against his white background, unnoticed and, consequently, sad. He discovers that by gathering materials from his surroundings--feathers, leaves, stalks, flowers--he can make himself look more like an ordinary bird and also become visible. Unfortunately, this can also draw unwanted attention from predators. Strutting along proudly with his newfound accoutrements, he is immediately noticed by a fox, and he only escapes by hastily abandoning his treasures and becoming invisible again. After this experience, he discovers a virtue in his invisibility. He can hide himself and also protect other creatures from harm. The moral of this Aesopian tale, simply told, is that it is more rewarding to be a good friend than to show off. In a constant play with positive/negative space, the artist explores with gentle humor the meaning of identity, both visual and metaphorical. Until he learns to use his surroundings appropriately, the bird is defined only by his environment. Once he understands the ways of the world, he can create his own identity. A flat, decorative style, delicate brushwork and a light, controlled palette in refreshing, springlike colors characterize Yerkes' illustrations. This highly original and thought-provoking picture book will appeal to the peek-a-boo sensibilities of the youngest readers and also have aesthetic appeal for parents. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402280139
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 362,326
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD250L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Yerkes was born in Minneapolis, MN. After a stint in Turkey as a little girl, she moved back to the U.S, where she grew up surrounded by her family, art, books, and greenery. Jennifer studied Design and Art History at universities in the U.S. and Europe. She now lives in Strasbourg, France, where she works as a graphic designer and illustrator, still surrounded by her family, art, books, and greenery.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 12, 2013

    The thing I love the most about this book is the artwork. The il

    The thing I love the most about this book is the artwork. The illustrations are gorgeous and really unique. I love picture books that can deliver a message without sounding preachy. Both of my children and I really enjoyed this visually pleasing picture book.

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