Total Pageviews

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Woodpecker's Tale, written and illustrated by Sean Cassidy. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2014. $18.95 ages 6 and up

"Pierce puffed out his chest.
"I've watched you, Mama.
Find an old tree.
Hammer the wood.
Eat the yummy bugs.
I can do it."
"But some bugs are nasty.
They can hurt," called Mama ..."

You will know youngsters like Pierce. They are determined, inquisitive, willing to break down any barriers to their independence. I have an 8 month old granddaughter who would find Pierce a kindred soul.

He is young and bent on leaving the nest and his mother's protection. As the young and innocent so often do, Pierce has no fear. His mother is not sure that he has learned all the lessons he will need out in the wide world. No matter!

As he explores a fallen trunk, an ancient tree, and a nearby standing tree, he makes some discoveries he was not expecting to make:

"His feathers trembled.
His tummy growled.
He wobbled among the trees
searching for food.

"Finding food is scary,"
he mumbled as he spied
an old beech tree."

Indeed it is! Having met up with a disconcerted skunk, a wise owl with a withering stare, a very grumpy raccoon and a startled opossum, Pierce eyes the perfect tree. It buzzes with bugs; they are bound to be tasty.

Could they be the nasty bugs his mother has mentioned? Don't you know ... mothers are always right when it comes to their baby's safety? Off he goes on a tear, trying to avoid the bees and warning everyone on his return path about them. Those warned appreciate his help; it isn't long until he is home and happily munching on bugs to fill his tummy and to keep his heart content.

"Pierce plunged his beak into the spongy log.
Something tickled his tongue.
He speared it and feasted on a juicy bug.
Pierce ate until his tummy was full.
He flew home to rest.
Pierce closed his eyes and chuckled.
"I knew it would be easy."

If you ask me what I love most about Sean Cassidy's art, it is his attention to detail. His animals have a personality of their own, made stronger by the many details in body, eyes and the countenance he shows his audience in these colorful images. The final two pages add information about the woodpecker itself, a game, finding insects, normal growth, a timeline, a quiz and a simple drawing technique to help readers draw their own bird.

For added fun, be sure to visit Sean's website at:     

No comments:

Post a Comment