Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Review - The Dead Bird

The Dead Bird
by Margaret Wise Brown
illustrated by Remy Charlip
Date: 1938
Publisher: Harper & Row
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 56
Format: e-book
Source: Open Library

One day, the children find a bird lying on its side with its eyes closed and no heartbeat. They are very sorry, so they decide to say good-bye. In the park, they dig a hole for the bird and cover it with warm sweet-ferns and flowers. Finally, they sing sweet songs to send the little bird on its way.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Then they cried because their
singing was so beautiful and the ferns
smelled so sweetly and the bird was dead.

Can't you tell by the cover of four kids flying a yellow kite that this is a story about a dead bird? No? Well, let me help you out. This is the story of a very dead bird. Some children find it when it's still warm, but then it gets stiff and cold so they bury it and sing and impress themselves so much with their bird funeral that they cry. Then they visit the bird until they forget about it.

I'm not sure what the point is supposed to be. Children have fairly short attention spans? (We don't really need a book to tell us that.) Dead animals are cold and their hearts don't beat? (I would hope that would be a given.) Kids should go around touching dead animals and rubbing them against their faces? (*shudder*)

This is a weird little picture book. I guess it sort of teaches very small children about death. But I hope they wouldn't extrapolate it to humans. Otherwise, poor, dead great-grandpa is going to be passed over for a game of catch.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.83 out of 5

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