September 23, 2016

Hungry Bird

by Jeremy Tankard
Scholastic 
978-1-0-545-86417-6                 
32 pp.
Ages 3-5
September 2016

Jeremy Tankard’s award-winning Bird is back in his third volume, after the successful Grumpy Bird (Scholastic, 2007) and Boo Hoo Bird (Scholastic, 2009), and this time the little blue guy with the attitude is hungry.  He and his friends–Fox, Beaver, Sheep, Raccoon and Rabbit–have gone off for a hike when Bird, who continues to look grumpy, suffers a grumbling stomach.

While his friends are well prepared for their hike, sporting backpacks some of which contain their favourite snacks, Bird is supply-less, though he is the first one to feel peckish.  Unfortunately,  instead of asking his friends politely if they might share a treat with him, he wants to know if they packed anything for him.  Worse yet, when each answers him, politely offering to share, Bird declines.  At first, he refuses with relative politeness, but, just as in Grumpy Bird and in Boo Hoo Bird, Bird’s responses become more impassioned, ranging from “Are you crazy?” and “YUCK! That sounds DISGUSTING!” to demanding food and shouting, “HOW ON EARTH CAN I EAT A CARROT?!”  At last, Bird’s pleas escalate till he is convinced he will starve to death –of course, he won’t–and crawls with weakness to his friends, finally agreeing to try their snacks.
From Hungry Bird by Jeremy Tankard
As egocentric as Bird is, he’s not unlike the very young children (and self-centered adults!) who see everyone as there to meet their demands and needs immediately.  Only when he’s desperate does Bird relent and recognize that his friends have always been there to help him and are more than willing to share.  The only impediment to having his needs met is the petulant Bird himself.

Jeremy Tankard’s animals are distinct, walking on two legs, and colourful in bold colours of blue, orange, gold, tangerine, red and white.  With distinctive features like large buck teeth and characteristic tails and ears, the six creatures are easily identifiable while still unlike any other animals ever created in illustrations.  These coarsely-outlined creatures, displayed in landscapes of generally single colours, always stand out, never lost in backgrounds of irrelevant details.  Hungry Bird, like its predecessors, is all about the characters, both in illustration and story, with subtle messages about responsibility, courtesy, sharing, and trying new things. Lots of life lessons for an ornery but lovable, little blue bird.
From Hungry Bird by Jeremy Tankard

No comments: