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Doctor Bird: Three Lookin' up Tales from Jamaica
     

Doctor Bird: Three Lookin' up Tales from Jamaica

by Gerald Hausman, Ashley Wolff (Illustrator)
 
Doctor Bird is one smart hummingbird! When he sees Mongoose stealing food, he drops a weather goofball on her house and really teaches that thief a lesson. When MouseÆs home is destroyed by a storm, Doctor Bird teaches him to keep his head up. And when Owl plans to crash a party dressed like Doctor Bird, Doctor Bird teaches him to be himselfùand be proud of it.

Overview

Doctor Bird is one smart hummingbird! When he sees Mongoose stealing food, he drops a weather goofball on her house and really teaches that thief a lesson. When MouseÆs home is destroyed by a storm, Doctor Bird teaches him to keep his head up. And when Owl plans to crash a party dressed like Doctor Bird, Doctor Bird teaches him to be himselfùand be proud of it. Presented in the rich storytelling tradition and lush colors of the West Indies, these three tales remind readers that itÆs always best to look up when problems land at your feet. Jamaicans believe Doctor Bird has magical powers, and if you donÆt believe them, just ask Mongoose, Mouse and Owl! Gerald Hausman lives in Bokeelia, FL. Ashley Wolff lives in San Francisco, CA.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Doctor Bird is a rainbow-winged, streamer-tailed hummingbird that lives only in Jamaicaand is that West Indian island's beloved national bird. Here, in a trio of wordy folktales, a top-hatted Doctor Bird uses magical powers plus his own wisdom to teach other creatures important lessons. Working in her characteristic combination of black gesso and rich gouaches, Wolff (previously paired with Hausman for How Chipmunk Got Tiny Feet) features lush foliage and exotic lizards and monkeys in dark outline and deep, crepuscular colors. One page might vividly illustrate a scene from the story (e.g., Doctor Bird teaches Mongoose not to steal by subjecting her house to an onslaught of disturbances, ending in a snowstorm) while an inset on the facing page amplifies details (Mongoose pours her delicious hibiscus tea to sweeten up Doctor Bird). Each tale ends with the tag: "And if this story isn't true, let the keeper of heaven's door say so now." Yet the messages are muddy. Mongoose, for example, reverts to "the way she always was, is, and forever will be"; the only difference is that she now returns what she "borrows" whenever it snows. While the folksy rhythms of the sentences and occasional vernacular words add charm and authenticity ("he was going to hoo-doo all the people at the Guango party"), the text ambles and characterization is weak. Overall, the writing is not the equal of the intriguing, lively art. Ages 5-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Here are three stories about the national bird of Jamaica, the streamer tail hummingbird, found nowhere else in the world, and known to all as the Doctor Bird. He is an engaging, sprightly character, full of wisdom and humor and gentle trickery. The stories are lively and well-paced, and filled with the images and rhythms of their island home. Wolff's artwork is intense, glowing with the sunlight glinting off the hummer's "see-through wings."
School Library Journal
Doctor Bird (a hummingbird--the national bird of Jamaica) changes the lives of three animals. Without using dialect, the author enhances the rhythm of the Jamaican language by the conversational flow of the words. Mention is made of hibiscus tea, yellow yams, and mangoes, all of which add to the story's colorful setting. (PreS-Gr 4) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Doctor Bird, hummingbird trickster and national bird of Jamaica, stars in a trio of parables adapted by Hausman. In the first tale, Doctor Bird tries to teach Mongoose that she shouldn't steal. He unleashes a series of warnings from his magical bag until Mongoose gets the hint, but she goes back to her thieving ways as soon as Doctor Bird departs. In the second, Doctor Bird encourages Mouse to shuck his instincts to see the possibilities, to look up instead of down, and Mouse stumbles upon a variety of unexpected ways to survive. Lastly, Doctor Bird advises Owl to be an owl, and not what he is not. When Owl, disenchanted with his lot, goes after bright lights and teeming fellowship, it backfires and he comes to appreciate his nocturnal life. The tellings are surprisingly wooden, without the lilt associated with island tales, and fairly open-ended for the target audience. Wolff's illustrations are flashy and funny, hinting at the Jamaican setting without fully invoking it. (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399227448
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/1998
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
8.78(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.34(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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