Birdsong
Birdsong

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Annotation: Shortlisted for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards!A tender, luminous portrait of art, nature, and connecting across generations.When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigat
Catalog Number: #208869
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-7716-4473-7 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7313-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-7716-4473-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7313-3
Dewey: E
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Young Katherena is sad about leaving home and all that is familiar there, as, in the spring, she and her mother move to the country, to a house in a field. Come summertime, Katherena is still glum and lonely, but a visit to Agnes, her elderly neighbor, proves to be a turning point. Despite the considerable difference in their ages, they strike up a companionship: Katherena teaches Agnes words in Cree, and Agnes teaches her about gardening. Here Flett offers readers a way to appreciate change over time. The book is organized by seasons, beginning and ending with spring, and over the year, both Agnes and Katherena come to share their artistic gifts with each other and form a friendship. Flett's prose and art are characteristically pared down to reveal power in simplicity. The landscape and earth's bounty are as integral as the people are to this tender story of nothing much st life. But, after all, what else is there?
Kirkus Reviews
A young girl misses her urban home by the sea but soon discovers an unlikely friend who helps her to adjust.After Katherena and her mom settle into their new rural home, Katherena visits the neighboring house and meets aging neighbor Agnes, an artist who works in clay. The seasons flow one into another. Katherena draws what she sees and grows ever closer to Agnes. Agnes tells Katherena about her art and about rural life; Katherena shares Cree words with Agnes. By the time it is fall, she's helping Agnes in her garden. However, by winter, Agnes has become too weak to be outside much. Katherena and her mother make a salmon stew that Katherena takes over for Agnes and her daughter to enjoy. When spring returns again, Agnes continues to weaken, but Katherena has a plan to help her friend enjoy spring without going outside. Flett's simple story explores the difficulties of moving but also shows young readers how new friends can sometimes ease them; that this friendship is an intergenerational one between fellow artists is an especially sweet touch. Flett (Cree/Métis) employs her characteristically minimalist style, placing Katherena against flat expanses of greensward that changes with the seasons, birds wheeling above in silhouette. Katherena and her mom both have brown skin and straight, black hair; Agnes has brown skin as well, but she does not speak Cree.Emotionally stunning. (Picture book. 5-8)
Publishers Weekly
When Katherena and her mother move away from family in -the city by the sea,- the new house has a desk, -but I don-t feel like drawing./ My hands are cold.- Meeting Agnes, the older woman who is their nearest neighbor, changes everything: -I can-t wait to go home and start drawing.- Agnes becomes frail as the seasons pass, but the duo-s strengthening friendship (-Agnes tells me about waxing and waning moons./ I tell her about Cree seasons-) allows Katherena to grow, and the book closes with a gift from Katherena to Agnes. Cycling from spring to spring, Flett-s subtle, sensitive story delicately traces filaments of growth and loss through intergenerational friendship, art making, and changing moons and seasons. Cree-Métis words (defined in a small glossary) add an intimate layer of identity to the child-s lustrous narration, which shines against the spare beauty of rich illustrations by Flett (who is Cree-Métis). Ages 3-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 2 When a young girl moves to a new home in the country, her initial loneliness is soothed by a new friendship. It's spring and she is packing up her home in the city by the sea and moving to a new house. Her new home in the country has two trees, snowdrops, creaky stairs, and a older neighbor named Agnes. When summer comes, the girl begins her friendship with Agnes, who shows her the garden and all her clay things, shaped like birds and flowers. She visits Agnes often and they become great friends, and teach each other much as the seasons change. After the winter, Agnes can't get out as much and the little girl finds a way to bring the outside world to her. The story is made up of short scenes punctuated by chapter headings naming the changing seasons. This format provides a perfect backdrop to the growing friendship between Agnes and the young girl. In the summer, Agnes teaches the child about berries and plants; in the fall, they bury leaves in the soil to prepare it for spring and to feed the worms. The young girl learns about waxing and waning moons from Agnes and in turn she tells Agnes about the Cree seasons. This is a beautiful portrait of an intergenerational friendship where both parties have something to share and learn. Each episode is written in spare and poetic verse, with the small text placed carefully on each beautiful spread. Simple and elegantly composed, the digital illustrations highlight the soft fuzzy texture of the girl's bird drawings and the hazy, winter air filled with snow. Small details abound, such as the crisp dark lines of the kitchen cabinets in an intimate kitchen scene that become fuzzy behind a cloud of steam rising from the pot of salmon stew. The Cree words used by the characters are given context within the text and a phonetic glossary at the beginning is a helpful tool for readers unfamiliar with the language. VERDICT Simple and profound, this tender story is a reminder that finding a new friend can make a new place feel like home. Highly recommended for purchase. Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A young girl misses her urban home by the sea but soon discovers an unlikely friend who helps her to adjust.After Katherena and her mom settle into their new rural home, Katherena visits the neighboring house and meets aging neighbor Agnes, an artist who works in clay. The seasons flow one into another. Katherena draws what she sees and grows ever closer to Agnes. Agnes tells Katherena about her art and about rural life; Katherena shares Cree words with Agnes. By the time it is fall, she's helping Agnes in her garden. However, by winter, Agnes has become too weak to be outside much. Katherena and her mother make a salmon stew that Katherena takes over for Agnes and her daughter to enjoy. When spring returns again, Agnes continues to weaken, but Katherena has a plan to help her friend enjoy spring without going outside. Flett's simple story explores the difficulties of moving but also shows young readers how new friends can sometimes ease them; that this friendship is an intergenerational one between fellow artists is an especially sweet touch. Flett (Cree/Métis) employs her characteristically minimalist style, placing Katherena against flat expanses of greensward that changes with the seasons, birds wheeling above in silhouette. Katherena and her mom both have brown skin and straight, black hair; Agnes has brown skin as well, but she does not speak Cree.Emotionally stunning. (Picture book. 5-8)
Reading Level: 1.0
Interest Level: P-2
Lexile: 560L

Shortlisted for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards Named as one of Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2019 A tender, luminous portrait of art, nature, and connecting across generations. When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett's textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions. A brief glossary and pronunciation guide to Cree-M tis words that appear in the text is provided on the copyright page.


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