The King of the Birds

The King of the Birds

by Helen Ward

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When chaos reigns among the birds, the oldest and wisest birds declare a contest to determine who will be their king.


When chaos reigns among the birds, the oldest and wisest birds declare a contest to determine who will be their king.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this gleeful celebration of ornithological heterogeneity, birds gather to choose a king. But what virtue should distinguish the future kingits size, its speed, its color? Finally the convention settles on the ability to fly the highest. Just as the eagle appears to have wrapped up the contest, a hitchhiking wren loosens itself from the eagle's feathers and flaps a wee bit higher. Flowing naturally and economically, Ward's (Christmas Pageant) text also lends itself to playful voices for spirited read-alouds. Her eye-catching watercolors, which set the birds against crisp white backgrounds, are as dynamic and varied in presentation as the birds themselves: some spreads favor raucous color and commotion, others spare tranquillity. While youngsters try to grasp the vast variety of birds (a key in the back identifies scores), they'll delight in naming the easily recognizable ones. This beautifully illustrated introduction to the feathered kingdom is something to crow over. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4This poetic retelling of a traditional tale is a feast for both the eye and the ear. Long ago, a grand gathering of all birds was called in order to choose a ruler. After much discussion and dissension, it was agreed that the bird that could fly the highest should be king. Without a moment's hesitation, the competitors burst forth into the sky, with the eagle soaring above them all. Just as the mighty bird reached its zenith, a tiny wren crept from beneath its feathers and rose even higher. Thus, the king was not only the highest flier but also the most clever among them. The tiny wren is a champion of choice for all children who hope to outwit their larger siblings and friends. Ward's brief and lyrical retelling works hand in hand with her glowing artwork to charm readers. The pen-and-ink illustrations colored with watercolors and gouache take full advantage of the spectacle and beauty of the avian world. Each vibrantly colored competitor sets forth from a clean white page and often breaks through the fine-lined borders and margins. An informative appendix lists all of the birds that appear, forming a veritable "Guinness Book of Avian Records." This version of the story is brighter, bolder, and briefer than the one by Shirley Climo and Ruth Heller (HarperCollins, 1991). Storytelling purists will quibble over the lack of source notes, but libraries won't want to pass on this gem.Jeanne Clancy Watkins, Upper Merion Township Library, King of Prussia, PA

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
11.35(w) x 9.79(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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