I Am a Bird by Hope Lim, illustrated by Hyewon Yum (9781536208917)
Every morning a little girl flies like a bird on the back of her father’s bicycle. She sings like a bird too with a “Ca-Caw!” of delight. Along the way, they wave at the people they pass who smile and wave back. Then one morning, the little girl glimpses a person hurrying through the streets with a large bag. The woman doesn’t wave or smile at all. They see her the next day too, and the little girl doesn’t wave or smile at her this time. What could the woman be doing? Where is she headed in such a hurry day after day? The little girl becomes scared of the woman, since she acts so strangely. But then one day, they discover what the woman has been doing. She has been feeding the birds with a “Chee-chee-chee” quietly whispered to them. Now the little girl is a bird once more.
Lim delicately offers a tale about assumptions that we all make about those around us. Assumptions that can quickly grow to dislike, even though we don’t know the person at all. Told in the first person by the little girl, she explores the confusion and fear caused by a woman rushing past without smiling or waving. The reaction is believable for a small child and also speaks to how humans in general react to those who are different from us.
The art is done in merry colors in colored pencils and gouache. The little girl and her father are particularly bright on the page with their sunny yellow, bright blue and bright red colors. The neighborhood they live in is also part of the story with its seaside, graffiti and close buildings.
A picture book about community and connection. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Candlewick.