The team behind 2006's Seven for a Secret, which addressed the death of a family member, uses a family of birds to illustrate the idea of divorce. Writing in chirpy, nursery rhyme-like verse that tailors this story to a young audience, Anholt paints a full picture of the birds' lives, from the adult birds' courtship to the building of their nest and the birth of their child: "They waited a month,/ they waited a week,/ then the egg went crack!/ And the egg went creak!" Soon, however, Paul and Betty start squabbling, and Paul moves into another nest on the opposite side of the tree ("Paul felt bad,/ Betty felt sad,/ and Baby Bird said,/ ‘I want my dad' "). Both parents reassure Baby Bird that it is loved, and "At last that baby/ found what's best,/ flying back and forth,/ from nest to nest." Working in lively ink and watercolor, Coplestone makes some conventional choices (Betty is pink, Paul is blue), though Baby's Bird's pink and blue plumage is a visual reminder of the child's connection to both parents, whose love is never in doubt. Ages 3-6. (Jan.)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
PreS-Gr 2--Betty and Paul meet at the top of a cherry tree in the fall. These two funny birds build a nest to stay cozy throughout the cold winter, and by the time the cherry blossoms arrive, so does a little egg. Adorable Baby Bird is soon born, and life seems happy enough. But then the laundry and dirty dishes pile up, and Paul and Betty start to squabble. They decide the nest isn't big enough for all three of them, so Paul moves out to build his own nest on the opposite end of the tree. Everyone is sad, but Betty assures Baby Bird: "You had a home,/now you have two,/four little words, dear-/We Both Love You." When summer comes, Baby Bird flies back and forth between the nests. Anholt's rhymes are bouncy, and Coplestone's watercolor illustrations are full of colorful curlicues. However, the bright pictures and tone of the book at the beginning are so cheerful that the parents' breakup comes as an unexpected shock. The reason for the split seems superficial-the nest was crowded. One may wonder why they just didn't build a bigger one so they would all fit. The sudden twist from a happy family tale to an allegory for divorce is disturbing.--Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT[Page 65]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.