“Once there was a tiny girl with wobbly arms and legs, all skin and bones like a newly hatched bird,” begins this inspired story, Bird Child, by Nan Forler. Eliza is the bird child, but the story doesn’t lead where you’d expect: she’s already a confident girl thanks to her mother’s teachings. Now it’s Eliza’s turn to help another – her new classmate, Lainey, whose face and drawings turn greyer with each day of teasing. Like Eliza, Lainey stands out from the crowd: her clothes are ragged and her hair is coarse, yet Eliza can see that Lainey is a gifted artist. Forler’s tale is about individuality and the fight against oppression, subjects that even the youngest grade-schoolers can appreciate. And Thisdale’s mixed-media illustrations, which blend dark with light so effectively, will further engage them. (Ages 5-8) mRb
Andrea Belcham lives in Saint-Lazare, where many of her best neighbours are trees.