August 24, 2009

A Little Birdie (Part 1)

The Book - Little Red Bird by Nick Bruel

Bruel is both illustrator and author of Little Red Bird, but his strength lies with the artwork. Simple and colorful, they take on a comic-strip quality as he tells the story through both full page and partial page illustrations. The story is about a little red bird (shocking, I know!) who lives in a gilded cage and everyday sees a park through her window. One fine day she discovers the door of her cage wide open. She wonders if she should leave her comfortable home and eventually hops out to explore the room, the neighborhood, and finally the park. After a time of flying, soaring, and discovering, she sees her home in the distance. Should she return the her cage where she's safe or stay in the wide world where she can soar? Bruel doesn't answer but tosses the question back to the reader - what would YOU do?

Although the rhymes are often forced and clumsy, I love how the story pauses each time Little Red Bird needs to make a decision. "I wonder what YOU would do" is repeated throughout, giving you a chance to talk over the decision with your child, culminating with the final decision. Would your child go back to the cage that is her home or stay where she could fly? There's no right answer, no obvious choice. It's a great little story to talk about pros and cons and making difficult decisions.

The Craft - Paint a Birdhouse

Our little birdies don't have to decide between freedom and safety, now that we've built a sweet little home for them! You can find wooden birdhouses at any craft store for fairly cheap. I found a birdhouse kit at Target on clearance for $5. It was a hoot assembling it with Little Page. She helped me read the directions and use the screwdriver. At one point I missed a step and she let me know "when I put together birdhouses I always read the directions carefully!" At another point I couldn't find the hole I needed to screw into and she said "That's because your eyes are so old, Mommy." But my favorite moment was when Littlest Page crawled up to us and tried to help by stabbing the wood with a discarded screwdriver. Little Page yelled, "Let her help, Mommy. She always loves screwing things up!"

Once assembled, I let Little Page stencil, stamp, and paint to her heart's content. We hung the final product on the swingset outset. Welcome little birdies! Be at home!


  1. The house turned out really great!
    my daughter loves to play with screwdrivers, too

  2. Hmmmm... I'm not sure I'd want to sit right under a birdhouse :)


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