Mrs. Meyer the Bird

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
German author/artist Erlbruch brings out the beast in his human characters: in his Leonard, a boy turns into a dog; in this winsome tale, a hausfrau teaches a young bird to fly by doing so herself. The zaftig Mrs. Meyer, in her housedress and apron, doesn't have a birdlike physique or magical powers; in fact, she's so earthbound as to be a champion worrier. However, she's terribly concerned about Lindberg, an abandoned baby blackbird that she nurses back to health. On the day Lindberg earns his wings, Mrs. Meyer climbs a tree and waits beside him. When he sits tight, she "stepped off the branch and into the air. A gentle breeze caught and held her, not high in the sky but somewhere in the middle between the treetop and the earth below." Mrs. Meyer gives Lindberg a helpful push, and the tale ends with them both gliding across a city skyline. Erlbruch smoothly shifts from domesticity to surrealism, portraying Mrs. Meyer's flight as wholly appropriate to her mother-hen personality. Ungainly but appealing cartoon portraits of the doting Mrs. Meyer and her optimistic husband create a down-to-earth warmth, grounding this agreeable fantasy in a firm foundation of homey humor. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2Poor Mrs. Meyer is literally and figuratively weighted down with worry in this slightly skewed, not-quite-a-transformation tale. Raisin cakes, missing buttons, and airplane disasters threaten to overwhelm her until she is thoroughly diverted by a real crisisthe discovery of an abandoned baby blackbird, whom she names Lindbergh. With single-minded zeal and the encouragement of her happy-go-lucky husband, she devotes herself to Lindy's nurturing with great successuntil that inevitable moment when he must learn to fly. Perched together on a branch, this very odd couple is clueless as to how to proceed, and it is only when she trusts her heart that the stocky woman becomes airborne and delightedly accompanies Lindy on his first flight. Mrs. Meyer's personality is perfectly captured in the straightforward and well-paced text, but this tale's quirky humor takes off in the mixed-media illustrations. The self-indulgent Mr. Meyer pursues one frivolous hobby after another in contrast to Mrs. Meyer, with her head literally surrounded by myriad worries. Lindbergh remains appropriately inscrutable throughout. The comfortably distorted, rumpled figures are definitely earthbound and the generous use of white space and delicate borders further emphasize their solidity. Because the text is so matter-of-fact, the ending is particularly unexpected and provocative. More sophisticated readers will have much to ponder; younger audiences will be entertained and amused.Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531330173
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.27 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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