CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 15 . . . . March 16, 2007
Did you ever have one of those days wherein you just wake up feeling grumpy for seemingly no reason at all, and then you go about “grumping” at those about you? Such is the case with the central character in this delightful picture book by a newcomer, Toronto author-illustrator Jeremy Tankard. Too grumpy to even eat or play, Bird eschews flying in favor of walking. However, as grumpy-faced Bird walks past a series of woodland animal friends, some domestic and others wild, each of them asks Bird, whom they associate with flying, what he is doing. To their queries he simply replies, “Walking.” The animals think that walking either looks like fun or that it offers exercise, and so they all, in turn, join Bird in his walk. Determined to maintain his grumpy mood. Bird slides into sarcasm when Beaver asks the inevitable question:
Ultimately, the walking column, including Bird in the lead, totals six. At that point, Bird, who has been trying to keep his “grump” on, abandons it in favour of a spontaneous game of follow-the-leader, which sees everyone standing on one leg and jumping in the air. Having forgotten all about being grumpy, Bird then suggests, “Let’s fly back to my nest for a snack.”
According to a note within the book, Tankard created the illustrations using ink and digital media, and they are perfect for the intended audience. Each pair of facing pages is a double page spread, which is filled with forest detail, but the animal figures are boldly outlined in black, thereby signalling to young listeners where their eyes should ultimately focus. The background colours begin with the darker blues of dawn and shift to brighter, warmer colours during Bird’s day of walking, before returning to dusk and evening’s muted shades as the sextet “enjoy” a worm snack.
A fine book for sharing one-on-one or with a small group during a storytime.
Dave Jenkinson teaches in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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