Saturday, August 23, 2014

Birdy V. Worm: Early Birdy Gets the Worm by Bruce Lansky

A baby bird, the only one awake, peers over the edge of the nest. What is Mama doing down there? She's pulling a delicious-looking worm out of a worm hole!  Hey!  Is it breakfast time?

Birdy has to try that for himself. He hops over the edge of the nest and flutters perilously down to the ground. Now, where are the worms?

He spots something long and skinny and grabs it in his beak and pulls. But this worm is not cooperating. It pulls back. In fact, it is pulling him into the air. Wait! That's not a worm. It's a kite string!

Early Birdy is not ready to be airborne just yet, so he lets go. Now, where is a real worm?

He sees something long and pink in the hollow at the bottom of a tree trunk. Birdy is on it in a flash! Unfortunately, the long pink thing turns out to have a rather angry mouse at the other end, one now with a sore tail.  Uh, sorry!  Have a good day!

Finally Early Birdy spots a real worm crawling across the ground. Unfortunately, a BIG bluejay spots it at the same time. There's a brief tug-of-war over the stretchy worm, with the inevitable result. Bluejay flys away with his worm, and Early Birdy flops into a faceful of dirt.

Things only get worse when Birdy sees a boy with a can of worms. The little fisherman takes one out and does something with some string, and Early Birdy makes his move for the worm, only to find himself sailing out over the pond holding fast to the worm on a fish hook.

What's a guy got to do to get some grub around here?

In his latest Picture Reading Book for Young Children, Early Birdy Gets the Worm: A PictureReading Book for Young Children (Meadowbrook Press, 2014), author Bruce Lansky and artist Bill Bolton have a wordless story with just enough slapstick humor and tension to take little ones through the story on their own after an initial parental run-through.  Bolton's comic watercolor illustrations are charming, while clearly "telling" the story through his characters' facial expressions and body language. Available in board book and e-book format, this one offers the youngest "readers" the chance to create their own narration each time they open the book.

Lansky's other tales for tots include his fractured nursery verse collections, Mary Had a Little Jam and Other Silly Rhymes and Peter, Peter, Pizza-Eater: And Other Silly Rhymes, and his Baby Genius board book series.

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