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Monday, June 2, 2014

Froodle, written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis. A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2014. $18.99 ages 3 and up

"Little Brown Bird
didn't want to sing
the same old song.

She didn't know what
she wanted to say.

But it definitely wasn't peep."

All the animals in this urban neighborhood go about their business as they have always after day after day. They are content. Then, one morning, Little Brown Bird is not content with life 'as usual'. She wants to sing something out of the ordinary, something not heard before in the early morning. Will all the other birds follow suit? Did you know that crows can be quarrelsome, and very controlling? You will learn that....oh, and a bit of a downer, too!

Crow is not pleased with Brown Bird's waywardness, and makes that perfectly clear. You can imagine the further annoyance when the other birds follow suit. It makes life much more enjoyable for everyone, except for Crow. He flies off in a snit! Cardinal adds to the hilarity by tweeting 'lost caws.' It just ups the pleasure that kids will find in sharing this delightful new book from the imaginative, 'outside the box' Antoinette Portis. She knows how to make us giggle and think creatively, doesn't she?

When Crow returns, his mood has brightened. He is now willing to find pleasure in sharing in the cheer that is spreading throughout the neighborhood. Ms. Portis uses pencil, charcoal and ink, with digitally applied color to create the menagerie of neighborhood friends who understand Little Brown Bird's need for change. She outlines the birds in black, while making them very recognizable to her young audience. She uses full page spreads for the dialogue, and to create a perfect setting.

Listeners will love the warmth and humor of the tale, and will soon be inventing their own rhyming text to match the charm of the author's choices for her lovely avian characters. The expressions and backgrounds will encourage attention and talk. The sudden surprise of the whole book having to be turned on its end is just one of the joys of sharing the whole thing. 

Let your listeners develop bird voices to share in the reading, then sit back and enjoy!

I love it!

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