Monday 7 December 2015

Two Birds on a Wire

Two Birds on a Wire by Coral Vass, Illustrated by Heidi Cooper Smith (Koala Books)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-1-74276-161-9

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Little Blue Bird is happily sitting on a wire one morning enjoying the view when Little Black Bird joins him.
          Two birds on a wire
          Together they sat
          Little Bird Blue
          And Little Bird Black
But neither bird wants the other to be there. They both want the wire, and the view, to themselves and what follows is a very funny tale of the tussle they have to decide who gets to stay.

Told in humorous verse, with rhyme and rhythm which both work beautifully, this story is reminiscent of sibling or schoolyard arguments over toys, swings or even friends – and is one which every child and adult will recognise and relate to. There is a wonderful build up. They begin politely, move on to ‘I’m bigger,’ but ‘I’m louder,’ then a little pushing and shoving, until a full on competition puts it all on the line.

          They snapped and they snorted
          They pushed and they shoved
          They hassled and heckled
          But neither would budge
The text is lovely to read aloud. The energy of the words is matched by the vibrancy of the illustrations. The background is full of colour, with a few farm animals who watch the action unfold. But its softness allows this to stay in the background while the two bright and glossy birds take centre stage always. With fabulous expressions in both their faces and bodies, these quarrelsome creatures seem just like preschoolers.

This is a great story for young children about sharing. It shows up the silliness of fighting over something with subtlety and humour, I think it will be a big hit with both young children and their readers, be they parents, older siblings, grandparents or teachers.

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