More Than An Outstanding Book!

When a writer can deliver a message in few words, while leaving a lasting impression on both children and adults (including me), I buy the book.  The Lion And The Bird, by Marianne Dubuc is that book.

The book has far more pages than most children’s picture books, which I found curious.  As soon as I read The Lion And The Bird I understood why; adding text to what could have been a wordless book skyrocketed the message and put the book into the class of Goodnight Moon for older children.

A lion is tending to his garden in autumn when a flock of birds passes overhead.  One bird is on the ground, injured.  Lion hears a sound, thus the beginning of the story.  While he tends to the bird, the story is developing.  “Oh no!  They’re flying away.”  Those few words spark…well, silence and then a long discussion, the kind that brings worry to the surface.  Children need to know worry.  Those five words were powerful. 

               

The lion and the bird stay together for the winter and into spring.  The inevitable happens.  Then one day, spring returns.  And others, too.  “Yes”, says Lion.  “I know”. 

“I know.”  Those two words along with the illustration pack more power and emotion than paragraphs of words.  Two words stop the story and ignite one of the most important conversations I have with children: feelings, right and wrong, friendships, and kindness.  Oh, do we ever stop and talk!

I am educating the heart.  Nothing is more important.

This is followed by, “And so it goes.  Sometimes life is like that.”  I simply put the book down and say nothing, as these are words that all people, children and adults, need to hear and know.  I repeat the words, and I’m sure I have a look of “it’s okay” on my face.  I sense that those words are water filling every child’s bucket.  The faces of children tell me so.

Sometimes life is like that.

Lion understands, and continues with his life through the seasons.  Spring returns and he has many thoughts.  Again, the book has few words and plenty of illustrations that pack a powerful message.  When spring returns he hears a sound:

Of course the floodgates opened, beginning with my asking, “What is that?”  Watching the children figure out that it was actually music, and it must be from the bird was wonderful.  The excitement and anticipation grew.  Rapidly!

When words are carefully crafted, they are like magic.  They open doors and chambers in the mind that the reader never realized were there.  Those words make them see and understand.

Finding a good book like The Lion And The Bird is finding hidden treasure.  I found this book at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, a treasure museum in itself.  My book collection has been lovingly collected over the decades and is filled with the best, not necessarily the award winners.  I only buy a few books a year, great ones such as The Lion And The Bird.

Jennie

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Imagination, Kindness, picture books, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to More Than An Outstanding Book!

  1. Dan Antion says:

    That sounds like a wonderful story. I can see how you can build many great lessons from that one, Jennie.

  2. John Kraft says:

    For what age range would this be appropriate?

    • Jennie says:

      While the book is geared to children ages 4 to 8, it is incredibly powerful for all ages. I would read it to a teenager in a heartbeat and have marvelous discussions.

  3. cheyenne65 says:

    Thank you for your review! I’m glad to know about this.

  4. I so love coming here. I collect some children’s books to have on hand for visitors. That one will go on my list. At some point it will be given to a child that it resonates with.

  5. Meg says:

    Thanks for introducing me to this book, Jenni. I’ve just requested it from my local library.

  6. ren says:

    Thank you for being you. 😀 And for the book referral.
    For nearly 6 months, I have enjoyed watching the ‘now-nearly-2 year old of this home, discover and enjoy books and reading. I think of you, when watching mother and child deeply engrossed in the world of books.

  7. beetleypete says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. This book is almost £11 on Amazon UK, but seems to be worth every penny. I will be ordering it for our grandson, as he is four in December.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  8. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the review.

  9. marciadid says:

    Thank you for your review. Sounds like one this grandma needs to add to her collection!

  10. Norah says:

    Thank you for sharing this one, Jennie. I wasn’t aware of it. It sounds beautiful. I could feel the love in your post. It came through loud and clear in your words. Your passion for little ones, their learning, and their hearts is palpable. I especially agree with this: “I am educating the heart. Nothing is more important.” Beautiful.

  11. Darlene says:

    What a wonderful book to share with the children. I love the illustrations too. So much can be said with a few carefully chosen words. You obviously know what works with children.

  12. This book looks wonderful and I’m going to add it to my list. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jennie says:

      You are welcome, Marcia. I always seem to find great books at the Eric Carle Museum book store, books they I never see at B&N. Like, The Farmer and the Clown, and My Grandfather’s Coat.

  13. reocochran says:

    Jennie, you found a true treasure in this book, “The Lion and the Bird.” Children like this kind of gentle story with a happy ending.
    I liked the book, “The Story of Ferdinand,” which taught children about differences and acceptance.
    I like that he smells the flowers in his field. Reminds me of my days in softball gym class. 🙂
    not a typical bull in the 1936 story.

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks, Robin. Children do like a book with a happy ending and also animals. This one did a superb job with including heartache and bouncing back. Sounds sad, but it was not. Ferdinand! Oh, I love that book. Haven’t read it in ages. Thank you! Yes, the smell of the flowers and the earth…🙂

      • reocochran says:

        I am glad though that new books come along like the Lion with his friend the Bird to become classics and including “bouncing back” from having changes in a friendship. When I moved in third grade, this book would have made me feel better. Picture books are timeless, Jennie! 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        Thank you, Robin. Bouncing back- that is what we all need, including children. If your grandies ever move (heaven forbid) you will have ‘the book’. I wish more grownups read children’s books 📚

      • reocochran says:

        I love sitting in our children’s area of the library and seeing so many new books to discover. Grown-ups should read them. So true! Sweet dreams, I must say, “good night.”

      • Jennie says:

        Good night, my friend. 🙂

      • reocochran says:

        This was so sweet! Thank you, Jennie.
        I had already headed off to bed or I would have replied.

  14. Yeesh, Jennie. I feel my own eyes welling up. A lovely book and post, my friend. What a treasure for your kids. 🙂

  15. Good children’s books are like poetry. Or they are poetry, emotional power distilled into just a few words. I’ll look for this one, and I’m not even a kid. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      You said that so beautifully, Susanna. True, indeed. I have such great admiration for children’s book writers, as every word matters. Many thanks!

  16. A lovely review of a beautiful sounding book.

  17. Jennie, what a beautifully written review! I want to read the book now and also send it to my young grandchildren! K D 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Karen Anne. You won’t be disappointed. It’s that good. Perfect for your grandchildren. As you read the book to them, you will have many opportunities to stop and talk, together. It will be good 😊.

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