by Mary Newell DePalma
Eerdmans BfYR 2/14/2014
Age 4 to 8 32 pages
“Each little bird has a part in nature’s grand scheme: the earth tilts, the seasons change, and songbirds arrive in new places just as insects hatch, fruits ripen, and flowers bloom. In this story, two plucky young birds launch into their first journey, which proves to be full of challenge, peril, and wonder.”
“After much effort . . . two little birds emerge from their eggs.”
Two little birds enter the world and learn to do what little birds like them have always been doing: they eat, they play, and they grew up. Then, seeing a flock of birds heading south, the birds decide to join the journey. They flew farther than they ever had. Home was getting farther away and then a thunderstorm struck. The two little birds tumbled and lost their way. The flock is gone. The two little birds need to find their way to the flock or to home. Can they find their way?
A simple story of nature that is more complex than one might think. The birds leave at night, when all songbirds leave for the migration south. The little birds want to go. Something in them must say it is time. They go, but find the flying is harder than they have ever done, but that they are stronger than they thought. The story of Two Little Birds is about two little song birds, yet, kids can find ways to relate to the little birds. It is time to change schools. The family has moved, or it is time for high school. The child’s confidence is less than normal. The situation is new and they wonder if they can make it in this new place, but then, they find that with a little hard work they can make it, just like the little birds. Relating this story to sports is far easier. A new team, will the child make it? A little harder to play at the newer level, but with some extra effort, a bit more hustle, and keeping their eye on the ball, the child fits in just fine, just like the little birds fit into their society.
The story is also cute, one that young children will enjoy. The birds flew and flew and then tumbled. How many times do young kids tumble? Children will relate to the little birds, who muster on until they found their way, just like children bounce up and keep on going. [Not like an energizer bunny, but the analogy works.] Two Little Birds will make a very good story time or bedtime story, and is perfect for the kindergarten or preschool class.
The illustrations are wonderful. Mostly in blues and pastels, the author/illustrator used a mixed-media collage, which is most evident in the first and second spreads, where the birds lay upon the nest in their eggs or just hatched from them. Knowing this is a collage makes it easier to find those layers, such as the map of South Carolina as the birds tumble from the sky, thanks to lightning and thunder booms. Knowing the artist’s process, methods, or materials makes the illustrations more interesting.
Young children will love the two little birds, who are unnamed—at least until the first reading. I imagine kids will have those two birds named in no time. The beautiful books will catch your eye with these two newborn birds leaving the nest. You can read Two Little Birds multiple times without any loss of enthusiasm, perfect for parents with young children who become hooked on one book for an undetermined amount of time. I hear that includes most every child, so it is a good thing the story is interesting and a nice read aloud.
After Two Little Birds, Ms. DePalma writes a little on the migration of songbirds. She explains that songbirds, orioles in particular, migrate at night from the north to the Yucatan Peninsula, which includes an 18-hour nonstop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. It is no wonder the two little birds became so tired. Your child and you do not need to make this flight to enjoy the migration. Simply read Two Little Birds.
TWO LITTLE BIRDS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Mary Newell DePalma. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.
Learn more about Two Little Birds HERE.
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers is an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Also by Mary Newell DePalma
NEW at Eerdmans BfYR