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Publishers WeeklyFairytale motifs, Disney-style illustrations (Corley and Vollmer are Disney animators) and theological questions combine in this tale of Firebird, a big-eyed baby oriole who "just lived for the sunshine," and cannot understand why God would "let the storm take the sun away." Full-bleed, full-spread paintings depict a bird-centered world of sunny days with luxurious green vines and hills, and stormy days with purplish gray clouds showering streaks of rain. While Firebird's mother gives initial evasive answers to her unhappy bird's questions, eventually she encourages him to ride into the storm and learn the answer for himself. One painting shows terrified Firebird dodging lightning and buffeted by powerful winds, while the next page reveals Firebird's ecstatic face witnessing the glowing rays above the clouds, making him realize the storm has not eliminated the sun. Uncomplicated illustrations and plot-line enable McCorkle (director of the film Unconditional) and Parker (A Night Night Prayer) to engage the complicated theological question of why an all-powerful God allows bad things to happen, and offer the consoling message of God's eternal presence even during stormy times. Ages 4-up.
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