Reviews for Home for Bird

Booklist Reviews 2012 July #1
*Starred Review* Vernon, a very thoughtful toad, is out foraging "for interesting things" when he finds something much better than an old baseball or yo-yo: he finds Bird. Bird is blue, with button eyes and striped wooden legs, and he is the strong, silent type. Vernon introduces Bird to his friends, Skunk and Porcupine, and tries very hard to make Bird feel at home in the river and the forest, but Bird never utters a word. After Porcupine suggests that perhaps he is homesick, Vernon and Bird hop in a teacup boat, with a spoon for an oar, and set off down the river in search of Bird's home sweet home. The ending is the perfect mix of "oh, of course!" and total surprise (although observant children will get a hint about the outcome on the copyright page). Stead (Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat, 2011) uses loose lines and thick, messy strokes to create illustrations that resemble a child's coloring book page in the best possible way. The style is fresh and exciting, and the pages brim with handclap-worthy details that kids will love, including Vernon's bottle-cap hat. This sensitively told story is a wonderful ode to friendship, selflessness, and the joys of home. Everyone should be so lucky to know a Vernon. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
On the copyright page, we see a little wooden bird thrown from the back of a moving truck. This bird soon meets a toad named Vernon, who seems to know that Bird is lost--and helps him find his way home as the story comes full circle. Stead's loose-edged illustrations are delightfully casual, with an emotional quality that draws the reader to identify with these two friends.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #4
Stead (author of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, rev. 5/10) returns with another terrific tale of devoted friendship. Starting on the copyright page, we see a little bird thrown from the back of a stuffed-to-the-gills moving truck. This little wooden blue bird with button eyes soon meets a toad named Vernon, who seems to know that the mute and inanimate Bird is lost and in search of a home, and who sets off to help Bird find that home. Stead's loose-edged watercolor, ink, and crayon illustrations are delightfully casual, with an emotional quality that draws the reader to identify with these two friends, especially the dedicated Vernon. And he is dedicated, even hijacking a red balloon to help them float on the wind in their search. There is so much visual humor here that the reader naturally slows down to enjoy all of it, especially the friends' encounter with a kind stranger (a weathervane) who points the way home. Follow the weathervane's arrow to the familiar truck parked in front of a house, a house that careful observers will recognize from earlier in the story. And in that house is a clock, just waiting for its cuckoo. Readers will sigh happily with recognition (not just of the truck, cuckoo clock, and house but also of the gray dog and brown teddy bear, Bird's old friends) as the story comes full circle. While Vernon sleeps comforted by the tick-tock of the clock, Bird is happy to be tucked up in its top, especially when he pops out at six o'clock with a joyful song after his long silence. "And Vernon was happy." Stead has crafted an old-fashioned story that speaks directly to the heart [Sat Apr 30 01:21:44 2016] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. but without manipulation, providing comfort and surprise at the same time. robin l. smith

Kirkus Reviews 2012 May #1
Vernon is both a toad and a forager for found objects. Ambling along with his latest haul, he chances upon a creature he seeks to know and then to help. Observant children will have noticed (next to the copyright information) the overloaded "Careful Moving Co." pickup truck barreling down the road, where a bump releases a cuckoo from its clock spring. On re-readings, additional story elements will be discovered in the truck. Vernon observes that "Bird is shy…but also a very good listener," when he introduces Bird to his friends. He and his pals conclude that Bird is lost and unhappy, so the thoughtful, resourceful amphibian readies a teacup boat for the journey to help this quiet stranger return home. They check out a birdcage, birdhouse, mailbox, nest and telephone wires--to no avail, but "Vernon was a determined friend." After the weary pair seeks refuge inside a familiar farmhouse clock, Vernon wakes to a cheery "Cuckoo!" and all is well. Stead's loose gouache strokes and crayon scribbles create a disheveled world just right for suggesting a junk-collector's paradise. Wide lines mix with thin curves, and wet and dry strokes commingle for a dappled, breezy setting; blue and green canopies often frame the page borders. Stead's sensitive telling and white background create space for contemplation. A deeply satisfying story that speaks to the universal desires to be nurtured and to find a home. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #4

Stead (Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat) imagines what happens when Vernon, a sweetheart of a frog, takes an interest in a silent, unmoving blue bird with an oversize beak, button eyes, and striped peg legs. "Bird is shy," Vernon explains to Skunk and Porcupine, "but also a very good listener." Small panel illustrations of Vernon attempting to amuse Bird, who lies blank and staring wherever Vernon sets him down, draw immediate smiles. Determined to find Bird's home, Vernon takes Bird down the river in a teacup. Vernon's ideas about possible living places for Bird--a mailbox, a nest filled with eggs, a telephone wire--are misses, but Bird's home finally turns up in a place both unexpected and perfectly natural. Stead creates characters that make readers care; Vernon's compassion and faith have near-spiritual dimensions. And the scribbled artwork brims with small delights, like the attentive expressions of Skunk and Porcupine, draped with string--they've quietly appropriated Vernon's yo-yo. But it's the way Vernon consistently sees only the best in Bird that makes this story a keeper. Ages 3-8. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (June)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 August

PreS-Gr 1--In this touching story of an unlikely, but fulfilling companionship, Vernon the toad searches high and low for his shy and seemingly lost new friend, Bird. Right from the beginning, Stead's emotional and detailed mixed-media illustrations inform readers what Vernon does not know-that Bird fell out of a cuckoo clock off a pickup truck before being found by Vernon while scavenging for useful odds and ends. Assuming that Bird is quiet because he's missing home, Vernon travels with him to search for his house. They find many different places that could make good homes for Bird-an old bird cage, a birdhouse, a nest, even a mailbox-but Bird remains quiet, making Vernon sad. A determined friend, Vernon continues searching until they find a pickup truck full of interesting things and a small blue house perfect for Bird, making him "cuckoo" with joy. The richly colored drawings are the perfect companions to this classic story of kindhearted friendship and belonging and will be a welcome addition to any collection or storytime.--Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 December

PreS-Gr 2--Vernon the toad is out collecting interesting odds and ends when he stumbles upon a displaced cuckoo clock bird that he thinks is real. Certain Bird is lost, Vernon invites his new friend to join him as he goes about his day. Vernon and his friends become increasingly perplexed by Bird's silence and decide that he must be very unhappy and missing his home. Sweet, loyal Vernon decides he will help Bird find his home, and the two embark on a journey that takes them by land, air, and sea amidst bird's continued silence and Vernon's increasing determination. Eventually, Vernon and Bird find a farmhouse and take shelter in the cuckoo clock on the wall. The next morning, Vernon is ecstatic to see that Bird is finally happy and has most found his perfect home as he bursts from the clock with a lively "Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!" Stead, a Caldecott-winning author/illustrator, has created a warm, witty, old-fashioned tale of friendship that underscores the value of determination and thoughtfulness and the importance of home. His colorful, whimsical crayon-and-gauche illustrations capture the story's innocence and Vernon's child-like qualities. Andrew Watts's soothing voice, conversational tone, steady pace, and impeccable enunciation make this an easy read-along for beginning readers or younger children learning to enjoy the simple pleasure of a well-read story. Page-turn signals are optional.--Amy Dreger, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Beachwood, OH

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