A Home for Bird

( 2 )

Overview

While out foraging for interesting things, Vernon the toad finds a new friend - a small blue bird who is curiously silent. Vernon shows Bird the river and the forest and some of his other favorite things, but Bird says nothing. Vernon introduces Bird to his friends, Skunk and Porcupine, but Bird still says nothing.

 

"Bird is shy," says Vernon, "but also a very good listener."

 

Vernon worries that Bird is silent because he misses his...

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Overview

While out foraging for interesting things, Vernon the toad finds a new friend - a small blue bird who is curiously silent. Vernon shows Bird the river and the forest and some of his other favorite things, but Bird says nothing. Vernon introduces Bird to his friends, Skunk and Porcupine, but Bird still says nothing.

 

"Bird is shy," says Vernon, "but also a very good listener."

 

Vernon worries that Bird is silent because he misses his home, so the two set off on a journey to help find a home for Bird.

 

This is a tender tale of a thoughtful friend who is determined to help his quiet companion, by the author of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal.

 

A Home for Bird is a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
From the Publisher
 "Stead has crafted an old-fashioned story that speaks directly to the heart..."—Horn Book Magazine, starred

"The richly colored drawings are the perfect companions to this classic story of kindhearted friendship and belonging and will be a welcome addition to any collection or storytime.”—School Library Journal

 “Stead creates characters that make readers care; Vernon’s compassion and faith have near-spiritual dimensions. And the scribbled artwork brims with small delights…”—Publishers Weekly, starred

“A deeply satisfying story that speaks to the universal desires to be nurtured and to find a home.”—Kirkus, starred

 "This sensitively told story is a wonderful ode to friendship, selflessness, and the joys of home. Everyone should be so lucky to know a Vernon." — Booklist, starred review

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
As was true for his A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Stead's story is warm and beautifully understated celebration of the importance of caring for others. In this case, when Vernon the frog meets a rather stiff looking bird, he assumes they will be friends, even though Bird says nothing. He explains to the others that Bird is shy, "but also a very good listener." But as the stoically silent Bird doesn't loosen up or talk, Vernon decides to help his new friend find a home. Sailing and ballooning along in a teacup vessel, Vernon has little success until the two arrive at a farm house and settle in for the night in a little house on the wall. Stead's charming illustrations tip the reader off to the mystery of Bird's stiff silence—for the house is in fact a clock and when morning comes, Vernon is delighted to hear his friend loudly and happily cuckooing away. Altogether the illustrations are an important part of the charm and tone of the story. This book is well worth returning to again and again—savoring the details of the illustrations and pondering its important message about looking out for those who may have special needs. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—In this touching story of an unlikely, but fulfilling companionship, Vernon the toad searches high and low for his shy and seemingly lost new friend, Bird. Right from the beginning, Stead's emotional and detailed mixed-media illustrations inform readers what Vernon does not know-that Bird fell out of a cuckoo clock off a pickup truck before being found by Vernon while scavenging for useful odds and ends. Assuming that Bird is quiet because he's missing home, Vernon travels with him to search for his house. They find many different places that could make good homes for Bird-an old bird cage, a birdhouse, a nest, even a mailbox-but Bird remains quiet, making Vernon sad. A determined friend, Vernon continues searching until they find a pickup truck full of interesting things and a small blue house perfect for Bird, making him "cuckoo" with joy. The richly colored drawings are the perfect companions to this classic story of kindhearted friendship and belonging and will be a welcome addition to any collection or storytime.—Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Vernon is both a toad and a forager for found objects. Ambling along with his latest haul, he chances upon a creature he seeks to know and then to help. Observant children will have noticed (next to the copyright information) the overloaded "Careful Moving Co." pickup truck barreling down the road, where a bump releases a cuckoo from its clock spring. On re-readings, additional story elements will be discovered in the truck. Vernon observes that "Bird is shy…but also a very good listener," when he introduces Bird to his friends. He and his pals conclude that Bird is lost and unhappy, so the thoughtful, resourceful amphibian readies a teacup boat for the journey to help this quiet stranger return home. They check out a birdcage, birdhouse, mailbox, nest and telephone wires--to no avail, but "Vernon was a determined friend." After the weary pair seeks refuge inside a familiar farmhouse clock, Vernon wakes to a cheery "Cuckoo!" and all is well. Stead's loose gouache strokes and crayon scribbles create a disheveled world just right for suggesting a junk-collector's paradise. Wide lines mix with thin curves, and wet and dry strokes commingle for a dappled, breezy setting; blue and green canopies often frame the page borders. Stead's sensitive telling and white background create space for contemplation. A deeply satisfying story that speaks to the universal desires to be nurtured and to find a home. (Picture book. 3-8)
Elizabeth Spires
Stead's splashy, colorful pictures are warm, funny, appealing and drawn with a light touch. Skunk and Porcupine are portrayed with soft, blurry edges that add to their charm…Taken together, text and image convey the message that each of us has one true home and nothing else will do.
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596437111
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 212,082
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip C. Stead is the author of the 2011 Caldecott Medal book, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, which was illustrated by his wife, Erin E. Stead. His most recent picture book, Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat, was the recipient of starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Philip lives with his wife in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Beautiful story! I love this story, the illustrations are beauti

    Beautiful story!
    I love this story, the illustrations are beautiful and so is the message about caring for others. Great book.

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  • Posted December 15, 2012

    Sweet Book!

    I purchased this book for my 3-year old niece. It is so sweet! I love the story, how it makes you empathize with the characters. The ending is perfect. I also love the illustrations. This will be a treasure, great gift choice.

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