BooksForKidsBlog

Saturday, April 03, 2021

This Place Is For The Birds! Free by Sam Usher

WHEN I WOKE UP THIS MORNING, ONE OF THE BIRDS WAS SICK.

When a boy finds a ailing bird stretched out on his windowsill one morning, he knows who to call--Granddad, who has books on everything! They make the bird comfortable while Granddad consults a volume on bird facts. He gives the bird some water, and when the bird revives, Granddad prescribes putting him outside.

"DO I HAVE TO?"

But Granddad insists that the bird would not want to be kept inside.

THAT'S THAT!

But while the boy and Granddad are whipping up a pile of pancakes, the bird strolls back inside, warbling a greeting. Granddad suggests putting him on a blueberry bush, near the window, and it seems that that is that. But at lunchtime, the same bird shows up again on the kitchen table. Granddad suggests giving him free range of the bird bath. But at teatime that afternoon, there he is again, hopping across the kitchen floor. The boy is overjoyed.

"I THINK HE LIKES US! HE KEEPS COMING BACK!"

And indeed the bird does settle down, perching on Granddad's newspaper. Granddad determines that they must make a trek to find the bird's home tree, so with their backpacks loaded with expedition supplies, the two follow the bird, who flies straight for a big tree atop a steep mountain. It's a hard climb, but...

"WE MADE IT!"

The birds, perched wing to wing on the branches of the tree--pelicans to parrots, owls to ospreys--and many varieties unknown to man, are singing and peeping and hooting and warbling to greet them. And after refreshments, the boy and Granddad are given an avian airlift for their return flight home....

THEY FLEW US ALL THE WAY HOME, BACK IN TIME FOR BREAKFAST!

It's a genuine flight of fancy, in Sam Usher's new first book in a prospective four-book series in his FREE (Candlewick/Templar Books, 2021) in which grandfather and grandson fly as free as birds with their new feathered friends. For young readers who like to spread the wings of their imaginations, fans of author-illustrator Sam Usher's earlier boy and Granddad books, the Seasons series (see review here) will want to continue their fanciful adventures in the great outdoors.

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