THE SHORT TREE AND THE BIRD THAT COULD NOT SING
Dennis Foon. Illustrated by John Bianchi.
Volume 15 Number 4
This is a "once upon a time" story in modern dress. A tree is sad and lonely because he is short. One day, he makes friends with a bird, whose appalling attempts to sing "On top of spaghetti" are almost more than the tree can bear.The bird agrees to quit singing in return for being allowed to rest on the tree's branches which are just the right size for her to hold onto. Each day the tree is delighted by the tales the bird tells him of the wonders she has seen when she flies away into the sky - a wedding of the snow people, a circus, and a family of escaped balloons hiding in a cloud. Fall comes, and the bird flies south, unmoved by the tree's touching pleas for her to stay. Throughout the long cold winter, the sound of the wind in his branches reminds the tree of the bird's awful singing and he "smiles underneath his bark" in spite of his loneliness and resentment. Spring returns, and so does the bird, bringing with her a souvenir from her winter in Florida, a piece of pink beach ball to adorn the tree's tiniest branch. The two unlikely friends are happily reunited. The story has a whimsical, rather sophisticated charm. The talking tree and the talking bird become distinct characters. The language is slangy, contemporary, and occasionally lyrical. The ending seemed a bit flat. The full-colour illustrations are perfect visual reflections of the tone of the text, especially the zany bird who sings off key. Physically, the book is a high quality production. It could be used in the early grades as straight fiction, or as hilarious support material for a study of the seasons.
Maryleah Otto, St. Thomas, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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