Review: Little Bird by Germano Zullo

little bird

Little Bird by Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine

Released April 1, 2012.

Winner of the 2011 Prix Sorcieres for illustration, the French Caldecott medal, this book is an impressive example of the magic of illustration and only a few select words.  A man drives his red truck up to the edge of a cliff and opens the back, releasing several amazing birds.  When he glances into the truck, he sees one bird left behind.  The man tries to tell the bird where to head and that it should fly, but the bird just looks at him.  The two sit together and the man shares his sandwich with the little bird.  The man shows the bird again where to head and how to fly, landing on his face.  The bird spreads its wings and flies away, joining the other birds the man had let go.  The man watches the bird fly off, heads back into his truck and drives off.  What seems like the end of the story is actually just the beginning.

Zullo has chosen his words carefully, letting the story really be told via the illustrations.  The words offer a touch of guidance to the depth of the work, the deeper meaning of the simple story.  They speak to the importance of noticing small things and how those small things are the true treasures in life.  It’s a message that will speak to children and adults alike, in very different ways.

Albertine’s art is wonderfully bright and filled with playful moments.  From the sunny yellow ground, the robin’s egg blue sky and the red truck, there is plenty of zing in these pictures.  As the story is told in the illustrations, the relationship between bird and man is also shown just in pictures.  The looks, the moments of connection, the departure, all add up to moments that lead to the magical conclusion.

An impressive picture book that is modern, fresh and will have readers looking for tiny treasures in their lives too.  Appropriate for ages 5-adult.

Reviewed from copy received from Enchanted Lion Books.