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The Message of the Birds by Kate Westerlund

Our Holiday Hiatus
The Message of the Birds Review

We have a Christmas treat for you today – A very special book, The Message of the Birds, a timeless and timely tale not to be missed. But before that, all of us at Good Reads With Ronna would like to wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday season. Whether you’ve already celebrated Hanukkah, are awaiting Santa’s arrival for Christmas, or perhaps partaking in any number of other festivities observed around the world, may your holidays be filled with awe and adventure found in the pages of great books and in the company of family and friends.

While you spend precious time with loved ones or newfound friends, we’re taking time to read all the latest winter picture books and novels we’ve received. We hope you’ll come back to see what we’re reviewing in 2014 and thank you for your continued support!!

The Message of the Birds cover art
The Message of the Birds by Kate Westerlund with illustrations by Feridun Oral, Minedition, 2013.

The Message of the Birds, written by Kate Westerlund and illustrated by Feridun Oral (Minedition, 2013; $16.99, Ages 4 and up), is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

The Message of the Birds tugged at my heart. It is a simple, still book, but it is full of the warmth and innocence that parents so often desire for their young children’s lives. The book encompasses a single theme: let there be peace on earth.  As the birds in the rafters of the stable watched over the Baby Jesus, they “heard in his voice…the words of a song that they would carry throughout the world…It was a special song of blessing, of joy and good will.” Unfortunately, as old owl explains years later, that message has been forgotten or ignored.  But Robin believes that children will listen and understand, and that the hope for a better world lies with them. So, the birds plan to carry the special message by singing to children. It’s a lot of work, full of long journeys, but the birds try their hardest. And something wonderful happens:

“They saw hands linked together—white hands, brown hands, black hands. Children everywhere were joining together. The children had heard the message of the birds, and what had started as a whisper now resounded from shining faces all over the world.”

What a wonderful thought to teach children, especially this time of year.

The illustrations are spot on.  The snowy, wintery scenes juxtaposed to the birds’ colorful plumage and children’s cheeriness bring the story alive. And in a way that only a masterful artist can manage, the pictures seem both lively and still.

During what is one of the busiest times of the year for many people, taking a break to enjoy and understand The Message of the Birds is well worth the time.

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