Friday 26 February 2016

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 26th February 2016 - "Little Home Bird" by Jo Empson (Child's Play)

Our second Book of the Week this week is so chock full of atmosphere and wonder that we couldn't resist its charms. The stunning "Little Home Bird" by Jo Empson
Jo Empson obviously has an affinity with characters who like doing things a little bit differently. Jo is probably most famous for a book that took the children's publishing world by storm back in 2012, the utterly divine "Rabbityness" (which of course also won a "Book of the Week" here on this very blog!)

Little Home Bird is a bit like the rabbit in Rabbityness. He loves his beautiful home, he loves colour, he loves music and can't bear the thought of leaving it all behind as his friends and family all prepare to migrate for the winter.

"You can't take it all with you!" scolds his brother, but bird is determined to do just that - so as the birds start to fly off in formation, Little Home Bird follows behind towing his nest and his worldly possessions with him.

The journey is fraught with danger and peril, and any migration involves a lot of effort and determination. Despite this, one by one Little Bird's beautiful nest, his musical mobile and his gorgeous red berries are lost on the journey - to bring a little colour, and delight, and musical enjoyment to others who find little bird's lost possessions after they're dropped from the sky.

I love that - I love the fact that, like that wonderful Rabbit in Rabbityness, Little Home Bird's favourite things can also bring a little joy and wonder to others.

I took to Twitter to extol the virtues of this picture book with our followers, describing its atmosphere as being almost funereal. There are moments when you're reading it aloud that you have to pause just to soak up the beautiful illustrations, and the lyrical way the story is imparted. It's like those wonderful mist-filled silences you sometimes get when you're out walking through an unfamiliar landscape and suddenly spot something, some little detail, something that is a little out of place yet belongs where it is - that truly takes your breath away.

Jo's stories are a lot like that though. Taking the ordinary, the everyday but making it feel vibrant and wondrous just like this adorable little bird and his ordinary yet extraordinary tale.

Charlotte's favourite bit: A farmer finding Little Home Bird's 'music' and marvelling at the wonderful noise it makes

Daddy's favourite bit: Jo makes it look so easy to produce a hugely engaging and original story from such a humble theme. Gloriously told and illustrated, and a real pleasure to read aloud.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Child's Play Publishing)

"Little Home Bird"

Written and Illustrated by Jo Empson

Published by Child's Play Publishing

Publication Date: 1st January 2016