Birdy's Smile Book

Overview

Birdy starts every day by smiling at herself in the mirror. She says you can smile while doing just about anything—brushing your teeth, taking out the garbage, or eating broccoli. Okay, maybe not while eating broccoli. Even people with bad teeth (like our first president, George Washington) should show their toothy grins because there’s no such thing as a bad smile. So heed Birdy’s advice and practice your smile—you’ll need it while reading this book!

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Overview

Birdy starts every day by smiling at herself in the mirror. She says you can smile while doing just about anything—brushing your teeth, taking out the garbage, or eating broccoli. Okay, maybe not while eating broccoli. Even people with bad teeth (like our first president, George Washington) should show their toothy grins because there’s no such thing as a bad smile. So heed Birdy’s advice and practice your smile—you’ll need it while reading this book!

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  • Birdy's Smile Book
    Birdy's Smile Book  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this cheerful advice manual, a redheaded optimist explains her philosophy. "I think the first person you see each day should look happy to see you," says Birdy, waving at herself in her bedroom mirror. She muses on the expression "say, ‘cheese!' " and when she attempts to let a smile be her umbrella, she gets drenched ("So I made up a new saying--‘Let an umbrella be your umbrella' "). Yet Birdy is no Pollyanna. She lists things one can try while smiling, such as "climb a tree" and "stand on your head," and when someone adds "eat broccoli" to her list, she chides the unseen contributor. And while Birdy enjoys being silly, she is not sugar-sweet: "My smile knows when to leave me alone... and when to come back." Keller's (Do Unto Otters) goofy, buoyant cartoons, underscored with curlicue display type, set an upbeat tone that's in keeping with Birdy's attitude. A flexible mirror embedded on the closing page, "so you can practice your smiling, too," gives instant confirmation of whether Birdy's advice has hit its mark. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“It’s hard not to smile at the encouraging thoughts and enthusiastic pictures throughout the book.”—School Library Journal

"The collaged illustrations are bold and textured and occupy white space in Keller's characteristically exuberant style.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Keller's (Do Unto Otters) goofy, buoyant cartoons, underscored with curlicue display type, set an upbeat tone that's in keeping with Birdy's attitude.” —Publishers Weekly

 

Birdy’s Smile Book is fun to read any time, but it is especially helpful if you have a little one that doesn’t feel like smiling. If the cute, happy story doesn’t get them smiling then the fun mirror in the back where you can practice smiling will put a grin on even the grumpiest of faces." —Peekaboo Picks

Children's Literature - JoAn Watson Martin
Birdy is a small girl on a mighty mission. Since smiling does so much for her, she encourages everyone to S M I L E. She admits that every incident or person she meets in the course of a day is not a smiley event. Who could smile about broccoli? Let a smile be your umbrella seems inadequate for a rainy day unless you want to get quite wet. Although she has been told that her smile lights up a room, she would rather her smile would clean up her room. She gives George Washington a pass on smiling since his teeth were wooden. Breaking News assures the public that endorphins are released when you smile. As contagious as chicken pox, smiles travel around to everyone, but luckily smiles are not as itchy as chicken pox. Birdy smiles into the mirror first thing every morning so that the first person she sees looks happy. With a mirror in the back of the book, no one can resist practicing her/his smile. Birdy convinces readers that smiling is an important part of life. Laurie Keller holds the world record (unofficial) for smiling for twelve seconds in spite of her cat clawing her leg. She encourages readers to set their own smiling record. Reviewer: JoAn Watson Martin
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Redheaded, round-eyed Birdy and her dog, French Fry, take readers through the many reasons to smile. There's not much here in the way of plot or even keen observations: "Smiles make people happy! I try to smile at everyone I see. And most of the time they smile back!" One comment follows another, in no discernible order. A few are entertaining, such as when Birdy decides that if she were food, she'd be cheese, since everyone smiles when a photographer yells, "Cheese!" She describes different smiles, situations, and sayings, and even mentions the relationship between smiling and the release of endorphins. Readers may wonder just how old Birdy is. And that's one of the book's core problems. The bouncy, color-zapped, zany fonts and illustrations would point to the three- to five-year-old set, but the outrageous jokes and puns, along with the missing story line, indicate an older audience. That said, though, it's hard not to smile at the encouraging thoughts and enthusiastic pictures throughout the book. The "mirror" on the last page will tell kids instantly whether Birdy's Smile Book did its job.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Kirkus Reviews
To Birdy and her dog French Fry, smiles are a necessity and come in many forms. Birdy's monologue celebrating smiles is ingenuously childlike in its tendency to jump from thought to thought—"I can't see my grandpa's smile because his mustache is soooo big it covers his whole mouth! / But somehow I can always tell when he's SMILING. / Grandpa says my smile can light up a room. / I wish it could CLEAN up a room, too." It's also encyclopedic, folding in such disparate concepts as endorphins, cheese, gelatologism (the study of smiles), George Washington and his dental problems and tears of joy. The collaged illustrations are bold and textured and occupy white space in Keller's characteristically exuberant style. The narrative voice and illustrative feel--it even ends with a mirror, a feature normally found in books for babies and toddlers--are at odds with much of the content, which requires the sense of humor and irony of an older child. Whether they will embrace the presentation and Birdy's exhaustive salute remains open to question. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805088830
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 935,132
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.56 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Keller is the acclaimed author-illustrator of Do Unto Otters, Arnie, the Doughnut, The Scrambled States of America, and Open Wide: Tooth School Inside, among numerous others. She grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, and always loved to draw, paint and write stories. She earned a B.F.A. at Kendall College of Art and Design, then worked at Hallmark as a greeting card illustrator for seven-and-a-half years, until one night she got an idea for a children’s book. She quit her job, moved to New York City, and soon had published her first book. She loved living in New York, but she has now returned to her home state, where she lives in a little cottage in the woods on the shore of Lake Michigan.

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Reading Group Guide

Laurie Keller knows how to write, illustrate, and make people smile and laugh. Get ready for some fun as you learn all about smiles in Laurie’s latest book, Birdy’s Smile Book, and keep those smiles warm and limber by revisiting some of Laurie’s other titles, sure to make you grin and sometimes, even, laugh out loud!

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