It’s true that spring has (finally) arrived. So why is a book that resonates more with autumn appearing on my blog? The reason is simple: this newly-published treasure of a story is worthy of a place on any child’s bookshelf and a joy to read and hear any time of year. Check it out.
Little Bird loves everything about his home. There is his favorite branch, where he sits and sings a happy song. There are cherries galore (Little Bird’s favorite food) to eat, music from a wind chime hanging from his branch, and a view he can look at every day.
However, one day, things begin to change. A chilly wind starts to blow and leaves fall from the trees. Little Bird’s big brother wraps his wing around his young sibling and says, “Did you know a home can be here or there? It may be near or far, big or small, and even hot or cold. And sometimes you can have two homes—just like us! It’s time to fly south to our winter home, where the food is plenty and the wind’s breath is warm.”
But Little Bird is not reassured. The youngster feels despondent at the prospect of leaving all his favorite things behind until the he has a wonderful idea: to take what he loves along. So Little Bird fills his nest with cherries, flowers, his favorite branch, and everything else that reminds him of home. When it is time to leave, the sky is full of green-and-yellow birds flying south—and Little Bird following with his favorite things held in his feet.
However, Little Bird, because of the weight of his treasures, cannot keep up with his fellow travelers. “So with a splish and a splash…his favorite branch found a new home. Much to a dog’s delight!” This scene repeats itself as a strong wind blows and then a thunderstorm sweeps in—causing another of Little Bird’s favorite things to find a new home to the joy of its recipient.
When the voyagers finally arrive at their winter residence, Little Bird has only his nest. However, he does not have a chance to miss his favorite things: there is so much to discover in his new home– and new friends to share his nest.
Jo Empson’s warm story will resonate with kids, especially those who are facing a move or living in a new home. Repeated refrains (“And further south the birds flew”) add to the dramatic effect of the tale. Vibrant illustrations by the author provide a charming complement to the text and effectively depict Little Bird’s emotions and all the characters’ body language. The reader can almost feel the cold wind and the warm sun as the birds make their journey south. The delightful conclusion and a map of the avian route add a touch of realism to the story and provide a springboard for discussion. A delightful tale of friendship, family, and how the choices we make can have effects of which we are not always aware. Pair this book with Gotta Go! Gotta Go! by Sam Swope for another story about animal migration.