She’s Still Got It!
A little red bird knows she is is ready to leave home but wonders where she will go: north, south, east, or west? She explores many regions of the world but eventually returns home, a big bird, and ready to start a family of her own. The text has all the characteristics of the best known Margaret Wise Brown books: simple vocabulary, a reliance on natural imagery, an emphasis on family relationships. Pizzoli’s rounded and vibrant illustrations evoke a wide range of settings and complement Brown’s words beautifully. Together, they portray a particular notion of time. It is calm. It is steady. It is both linear and cyclical; like children, the little red bird experiences significant growth even as the seasons change and return throughout the year.
The only thing I would have liked to see is a brief note explaining more information about this story. Was it discovered after Brown’s death? When did she write it? The story certainly stands on its own, but because Brown is such a significant figure in children’s literature, I imagine I am not the only reader who is curious about the story’s origins.
In addition to bringing up the more social-emotional themes of home, exploration, and growth, this book could also connect to content areas in science and social studies, and could serve as an introduction to geography, climates, and the cardinal directions. For all of these reasons and more, with a few more years, some devoted fans in classrooms and libraries, and (of course!) careful marketing, this book could easily join the MWB canon.
Bright and evocative illustrations