The Blue Songbird

illus. by Vern Kousky. 40p. ebook available. Running Pr. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780762460663.
K-Gr 3—In this sweet story, a little blue songbird can't sing the way her sisters can. So the bird bravely leaves on a quest to find her own song. She first asks a crane and then an owl whether they know of her song, and when they don't, she continues on over rivers, mountains, and valleys, asking all whom she meets. Finally she encounters a crow, who tells her she must fly west to a golden island. The little bird travels until she reaches the golden island, which she discovers is her home. From then on, she sings her own song of seeking and attaining her place in the world. The illustrations are soft watercolors in a pleasing palette of blues, yellows, and grays. The little bird and her sisters are charming creations, small puddles of color with a suggestion of wings, a triangle of yellow for beaks, dots of black for eyes, and simple slashes for eyebrows. All of the featured creatures have great facial expression, the owl's long brow feathers lending him a sage mien (though he is anything but wise), while the crow is dark and scary, with drawn brows and sharp, bright eyes. The layout of art and text is beautifully contrived, detailed illustrations framing the broad, dynamic strokes of color for sky, mountains, and water, with shaped text and white space completing the effect. The text flows almost poetically, and the voice of the young bird is perfectly captured.
VERDICT This title addresses a familiar theme, that of realizing one's place and purpose in the world, but it is a lovely rendition that is sure to please children and parents alike. A strong choice for most libraries.

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