Parents' Guide to

The Dead Bird

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Classic about kids burying bird gets vibrant new art.

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A lovely reissue of Margaret Wise Brown's classic book about kids finding and burying a dead bird is given new life with bright, updated illustrations by award-winning artist Christian Robinson. Brown made her reputation writing stories that appeal to children, and her books are still wildly popular. The subject is sensitive, and the text is forthright, not touchy-feely -- the reader experiences the confusion of death from the kids' point of view and from their actions, burying the bird "the way grown-up people did when someone died." When the bird's body goes cold, the plain-dealing text says, "That was the way animals got when they had been dead for some time -- cold dead and stone still, with no heart beating."

The sadness of death is counteracted by the colorful, life-affirming art that lends the book a welcome cheer. The kids smile as they go about the business of memorializing the bird and form a happy, connected ring to sing the song they make up. They're also accompanied by a dog who's very much alive -- he licks the kids' faces when they cry -- and the group itself is happily racially diverse.

Book Details

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