Tuesday 18 July 2023

Birdie Lights Up the World

Birdie Lights Up the World by Alison McLennan (EK Books), RRP $24.99, Hardcover Picture Book, ISBN 9-781922-539489

Reviewed by Susan Hancy

Birdie is no ordinary penguin: she is the chosen one whose singing in the evening turns on the lights that the zoo animals see in the night sky. But when Birdie catches a cold and has a throat so sore it feels like it’s “clogged with dry seaweed”, the animals are in a panic because Birdie can’t sing to turn the light on.

Lo and behold, the stars and moon still come out to shine. Birdie is confused and she questions her purpose in life. She wants to know if she is good at something else, so she tries to help the elephant, giraffe, and monkeys with their everyday tasks, but to no avail. Birdie is sad and the other animals are equally as sad – they miss her singing. She agrees to sing to them again and realises that, even though her singing was never needed to light up the sky, it has always been needed to light up the moods of her friends.

My kids loved the illustrations by Lauren Mullinder, especially the indigo hues in the night scenes where the pages sparkle like the stars and the moon. They also loved Birdie’s journey of self-discovery and were happy that she realised her talent. This story prompted us to have a great conversation about how and why we can only see the stars and moon at night when they’re not overpowered by the light from our sun.

This is a delightful book for children aged 4-7

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