Old Bird

Overview

One day Papa buys Bird, an old horse that can carry Archie and his brother to school every day. And the two boys are delighted with the gentle mare, which follows them around as they do their chores on the farm. It isn't long, however, before Bird reveals another side to her personality. Despite Papa's efforts to keep her out of the barn, Bird manages to open the latch and let herself in every time. And when she doesn't get her own way, Bird develops a habit of bucking off the boys along the trail to and from ...

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Overview

One day Papa buys Bird, an old horse that can carry Archie and his brother to school every day. And the two boys are delighted with the gentle mare, which follows them around as they do their chores on the farm. It isn't long, however, before Bird reveals another side to her personality. Despite Papa's efforts to keep her out of the barn, Bird manages to open the latch and let herself in every time. And when she doesn't get her own way, Bird develops a habit of bucking off the boys along the trail to and from school. A despairing Papa finally decides that Bird has to be returned. There's no place on a farm for an animal that doesn't earn its keep.

But Bird isn't ready to leave. The stubborn old mare does have a place on the farm despite her age. All she has to do is seize the opportunity and show everyone what she's been capable of all along.

Based on a true story, Irene Morck's new picture book is a delightful tale that children will love. But it is the subtle, deeper message - old does not mean useless - which will have a lasting impact on readers of all ages. Artist Muriel Wood accompanies the text with exquisite paintings that are deeply coloured and full of character, leaving their own heartfelt signature on this moving story.

This is the tale of a horse determined to prove her worth on a farm.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Prairie life for the early pioneers was not an easy life. It often meant hard work from dawn to dusk. Children who were of school age often had long walks to and from school. The boys in this story have a four-mile walk each way and often find themselves helping with chores late into the evening. Their father is able to buy an old mare at the auction and thus the adventure begins. Bird, they soon discover, can open nearly any latch that Father invents for the barn door. She often looks longingly towards the fields as Father plows with the draught horses. At first, the rides to school go smoothly but as Father finally develops a latch that Bird cannot open, she starts to buck the boys off regularly, sometimes into mud and stickers. The story has a happy ending for all and is a wonderful read-aloud. I am anxious to share it with my grandchildren as their great grandfather had a similar childhood on the plains of Kansas. Wonderful illustrations bring the story to life. This will make a great addition to the library's Plains Historical Fiction Collection. 2003, Fitzhenry & Whiteside,
— Barbara Youngblood <%ISBN%>1550416979
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Based on a true story, this old-fashioned tale of a spirited horse that is not yet ready to be retired addresses compelling themes, including friendship, the value of hard work, and ageism. When Papa purchases a mare named Bird, Archie and Arnfeld are delighted to ride her to school and back. Their parents are happy because their sons now arrive home in time to complete their chores before supper. Although Papa feels that the horse is too old to work on the farm, Bird proves to have her own opinion on the matter. She gazes longingly at the workhorses as they plow the fields, and begins to buck the children off her back during their daily journey to school. Worried about their safety, Papa decides to sell her, but the boys persuade him to harness her up with the team in the field. Finally, Papa is forced to admit, "She sure can work." This heartwarming story is accompanied by watercolors that have a somewhat hazy, nostalgic feeling; they are rendered primarily in soft shades of blue that charmingly depict life on the homestead, as well as Bird's winning personality.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550416954
  • Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Pages: 31
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.88 (w) x 10.26 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Irene Morck is the author of five previous books including Tiger's New Cowboy Boots, Five Pennies and Apples and Angel Ladders. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in magazine anthologies and on the radio. She and her husband live on a farm near Spruce View, Alberta.

Muriel Wood's illustrations have appeared in a number of children's books, including Old Bird, L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, and Margaret Laurence's The Olden Day's Coat. She has also illustrated the three previous titles in the New Beginnings series, Scared Sarah, Lizzie's Storm, and Aram's Choice. A former instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Muriel now draws and paints fulltime. She lives with her husband and two cats in Toronto, Ontario.

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