Review of Little Bird

Little Bird
by Cynthia Voigt; illus. by Lynne Rae Perkins 
Intermediate    Greenwillow    336 pp.    g
9/20    978-0-06-299689-3    $16.99 
e-book ed.  978-0-06-299691-6    $8.99 

In her latest animal fantasy, Voigt returns to the Old Davis Farm, a territory she has explored in three previous books (most recently Toaff’s Way, rev. 9/18). Little Bird is a curious crow who doesn’t quite fit in. She takes on the task of finding a missing necklace to which the crows attribute their good luck. Her quest takes her outside her usual territory, where she encounters new situations, new creatures, dangers, and a dark night of the soul. There are threats and a near-deadly attack on Little Bird, but the focus here isn’t “nature red in tooth and claw” but rather communication, the interactions between characters as they connect, suffer from misunderstandings, make jokes, and expand one another’s horizons through storytelling. Part of the fun lies in decoding Little Bird’s descriptions of humans. What would you make of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a schoolyard if you’d never seen one before? Voigt is a master at creating animal characters that are convincing and compelling in themselves while simultaneously nudging us to take a wry look at ourselves.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Ellis
Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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