Ten Birds

Ten Birds
Age Range
Release Date
March 01, 2011
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More than a clever counting book, Ten Birds highlights ingenuity, common sense and the inadequacies of labels. Cybele Young's intricate pen-and-ink drawings depict a rich alternative world that both children and adults will marvel over.

Editor review

1 review
Thoughtful and Quirky
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Nine very smart birds and one Needs Improvement bird need to cross the river. They create contraptions, using nearby materials, to cross the bridge, but the Needs Improvement bird recognizes perhaps the best solution of all.

Part counting book, part fable, Ten Birds by Cybèle Young initially strikes readers as a bit odd, but persistent page turning reveals a playful story that emphasizes the importance of common sense and the foolishness of labeling others.

Surprisingly stunning pen and ink drawings create a new world for youngsters and the simplicity is skillful.

SPOILER: The book is a delight, however, there remains a bit of a logic issue. Young shows the Needs Improvement bird walking over the bridge as the simple solution to the birds problem. This reviewer wonders why the Needs Improvement bird didnt just fly over the river, given birds aviary nature. This would be the most logical solution to the story. Then on the end page, after all the birds have crossed the river, now the birds are shown flying away from the scene. Is this a plotting misstep or is the author trying to show that in the end, even the smartest among us are fools? This seems a harsh message for a childrens book, but if unintended, why choose birds as the primary characters? Choose any of the many land-bound creatures.

This may prove a discussion point for children: What should the birds have done? What would another creature have done? If readers can overlook the stated flaw, then the book is a wonderful one, insightful and educational as well.
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