Bravo, Little Bird!

S. & S./Paula Wiseman. Feb. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781665906920.
Gr 1-4–Little Bird is so enraptured by the piano music she hears flowing down from the house on the hill into the valley that she builds her nest right in the window of the old man who plays it for himself and his wife, who hums along. To the couple’s delight, Little Bird is soon singing along with the music, and then her babies are as well. When their grandson begins visiting, the old man teaches him all about music and introduces him to Little Bird. As time passes the old man begins to nap more and play less, until “one morning all was quiet.” Up on the hill none of them feels like singing, playing the piano, or humming along, but in the valley below Little Bird hears many variations on the old man’s music. Inspired, Little Bird plans a musical tribute for the man’s family that proves “The old man wasn’t gone after all—he lived on in their music.” Using crisp, clean lines with ample detail and just the right amount of white space, the illustrations effectively depict the sheer joy of sharing, learning, and playing music, in addition to the loss and hope at the story’s end. The use of flowing musical notes to indicate how the music spreads from person to bird to the valley below is especially successful. The family is light skinned, while their neighbors are depicted with a variety of skin tones.
VERDICT A sweet musical journey from life to death that shows how music can soothe heartache and help memories live on. Not essential but lovely.

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