Children’s Picture Book Review – The Winter Bird
THE WINTER BIRD
Written by Kate Banks
Illustrated by Suzie Mason
(Candlewick Press; $18.99, Ages 3-7)
Written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Suzie Mason, The Winter Bird is a comforting and heartwarming story of friendship and perseverance, helping readers discover the quiet strength of patience and hope.
During the time of year “when the sun [goes] to bed early,” brown bear and hedgehog prepare for their annual winter routines. Nestled in a thicket and nursing a broken wing, the nightingale watches the geese, starlings, and swallows fly away. “‘What will happen to me?’” the nightingale asks. As a spring bird, it “‘knows nothing of winter.’”
“‘You will learn … You will learn,’” hoots the owl who, along with other friendly animals like the rabbit and gray squirrel, provide food and shelter, helping the nightingale survive its new icy surroundings.
Adapting to the slow, winter rhythm of nesting, waiting, and wondering, the nightingale learns the beauty in both the harshness and brilliance of the season. In lovely, lyrical language, we watch the landscape change as “the cold cre[eps] in on icy feet” and “the waltz of winter” begins. Beautiful illustrations in soft browns and grays, rounded edges, and spots of bright color let readers know: though the storm is coming, all will be well.
Throughout it all, the nightingale does what it knows how to do–sing. Whether singing of “winter’s woes” or “winter’s wonders,” it brings comfort to both itself and the other animals around it. A spring bird, the nightingale patiently learns how to “become a winter bird, too.”
A soothing picture book for bedtime or quiet time, The Winter Bird invites readers to bundle up, settle in, and enjoy the wonder of winter.
- Reviewed by Armineh Manookian