Wordless picture books usually aren’t my thing, so when I read that Little Bird was nearly wordless, I was skeptical that I would enjoy it. I figured it would be worth the read considering how many people are just in love with it. When I got the book, my first impression was of the small size of the book and the unassuming front cover featuring a big red delivery truck with an overalled man standing on the hood of the truck, looking up. The colors, font, and style of illustrations carry on inside the book. I read the book with my 3 yr old and we talked about what was going on in the pictures. I did read the text, but most of the overall meaning came from the images. It was at this point that I understood how wordless picture books are so popular with readers (both children and adults). I think it takes great skill to tell a story without having the luxury of descriptors. Author, Germano Zullo and illustrator, Albertine worked together beautifully on Little Bird to create something that is unique and very, very special.
Inside the book we follow a story of pictures and few words beginning with a man driving off into the hills. When he reaches his destination, he opens the back of the truck and watches as a large group of colorful and various birds fly out of the truck. The man looks inside the truck to find one tiny lone black bird. In simple pictures that somehow illustrate intangible details, the man befriends the little black bird. The man is clearly very caring, encouraging the bird to join his ‘family’ of birds in the sky. The man’s flying lessons are comical and touching, even when you see him fall flat on his face. It’s also amazingly sweet when we see the little bird fly over to perch on the man’s head. It’s then that we know these friends will soon part ways. The bird flies away and the man watches before getting in his truck to drive back down the hill. It’s when the man and bird reunite that we see how magical this little friendship really is for these two.
It’s no surprise why this book won ‘the French Caldecott’ (Prix Sorcieres for illustrations). It’s beautiful, touching, and sweet. My 3 yr old was interested enough that his face lit up in wonder at the end of the book. It’s a real treasure to find a book like Little Bird. Highly recommended to those who enjoy award winning books, readers ages 4 and up, picture book lovers, and everyone in between.
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