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Book Reviews

Boo Hoo Bird

by Jeremy Tankard

Bird suffers a nasty bonk on the head while playing catch with his pal, Raccoon. When he starts to cry, Raccoon takes him to visit all their animal friends, one by one, hoping someone can mend his boo-boo. They try all the standard treatments (a kiss, a cookie, a Band-Aid) but nothing can make Bird stop crying – that is, until Bird realizes his injury is making his friends cry, too.

So goes Jeremy Tankard’s latest tale of the cheeky little blue guy and his ever-loyal friends. As in Grumpy Bird, kids and adults will laugh in spite of themselves when Bird loses it on the other animals. When Sheep suggests a distracting game of hide-and-seek, for example, Bird is not impressed. “‘You want me to hide?’ wailed Bird. ‘I CAN HARDLY WALK!!!’” The absence of treacly sentiment is what makes Boo Hoo Bird so endearing. Readers will empathize with him, just as his friends do. After all, Bird isn’t rude, he’s just impatient.

Tankard’s illustrations are part of the joy of reading his books. The combination of ink and digital photography is both sophisticated and playful. Photographs of trees in the distance blend seamlessly with moody ink-foliage and simple, swirling flowers. His pared-down characters, saturated with primary colours and bold, black outlines, will engage the youngest of children. And older readers and adults will appreciate the nuances in the landscape behind the action.

The theme of friendship coupled with Tankard’s whimsical visuals makes Boo Hoo Bird an ideal book for storytime. Kids will also be able to follow along with the bold typeface, and the “Boo Hoo Hoos” and “Bonks” are extra-large, encouraging everyone to join in the reading.

Tankard has solidified his signature character in this latest book, and it’s safe to say kids will be eagerly waiting to see what Bird does next.