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Read a wonderful review of A Bird Like Himself by Diana Barnes for Armadillo Magazine

A Bird Like Himself

This picture book starts with a little bird hatching out of an egg, with a tiny ambulance driving away, but no parent, and the assorted animals around it attempting to look after the little bird.  He has a swing on the coils of a snake, and fox writes numbers on his teeth to help him learn.  (A suspension of disbelief is required!)  They call him “Baby”, and he quickly grows up, though he is somewhat confused about what noise to make.  Does he baaaa like a sheep, or moo like a cow?  The animals realise that he must learn how to fly to go south for the winter, but no-one can show him how to do that, though various attempts are made, including Cow bravely wobbling on a tree.  Then Baby meets another bird just like himself, and almost without thinking, Baby flaps his wings like that bird and off they go.  The very last page shows an even happier ending for the two birds…

An extract from A Bird Like Himself

Tiny Owl is publishing a few Iranian books now, including Anahita’s previous book Clever Mouse, and it’s good to have more well-translated books from other cultures.  The style is unusual, and she evidently likes the black and white check that appears in most spreads in some form in the humorous illustrations, most effectively in the clown’s suit that frames the winter sun.  The story will work on one level for the young child, who may enjoy the attempts by the animals to teach the bird to fly, but on another level it’s about parenting, and how the animals do their best, but in the end the bird just has to have the right moment to take off on his own.  Recommended.

Diana Barnes

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