It’s Picture Book Month again–time to look at Caldecotts or just marvel at your favorite illustrations. But what about a picture book that depicts invisibility?
Jennifer Yerkes does just that in a funny little bird. The bird in question is almost totally invisible on the white page–except for eyes, beak, and two teardrops when the other birds make fun of him. As he sets out on his lonely own, we follow his footprints as he finds beautiful odds and ends…and gets an idea. Along the way, he learns that invisibility has its uses and can even make him some friends. Through Yerkes’ use of background and the bird’s soft round outline, readers can appreciate the trick of camouflage, while the clean lines and simple colors reinforce the little bird’s optimism: “The world is full of beautiful things, he thought.”
The little bird would get on wonderfully with Ruby, a cheery little bird who greets everyone from birds to giraffes with, “Hello, my name is Ruby. Would you like to come flying?” She may be little, but she doesn’t feel small; I grinned as she joined a flock who flew in the formation of an elephant. Along the way, she explains that a name is “a sound that is all yours”…and finds a flock where everyone knows hers. A sketchy rainbow of drawings brings out Ruby’s bright birdy spirit and shows off the diversity of friendship. Written by Philip C. Stead, who won a Caldecott for A Sick Day for Amos McGee.
Related reading: Rare birds: Alex the Parrot