Title: A Home for Bird
Author: Philip C. Stead
Illustrator: Erin E. Stead
Publisher: : Roaring Brook Press (June 5, 2012)
Audience: ages 3 -8
Summary: Vernon the toad has found a new friend – a small blue bird who doesn’t speak despite Vernon’s best efforts to draw the bird into conversation. Vernon introduces Bird to his friends and tries to make Bird feel welcome, but Bird doesn’t respond and Vernon feels sad. Desperately wanting to help his new friend, Vernon sets out on a journey to help Bird find his own home. Courageously, Vernon keeps trying new places until he tiredly lands in a home with an empty clock in need of repair. Vernon’s diligence and persistence on behalf of his new friend pays off when morning dawns and Bird finally speaks. This is a beautifully written story of an ordinary toad who goes out of his way to help a new friend.
Literary elements at work in the story: Philip and Erin Stead’s gift of storytelling is unique as they allow us to see the thoughts of an ordinary toad through simple sentences spread over the pages of simple watercolor illustrations that tell as much of the story as the words do.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? Set in a world of make believe, this book crosses all lines to portray the umbrella of friendship that can exist and unite us regardless of gender, race, culture, economics, or abilities. In this book we see an existing friendship between a toad, a skunk, and a porcupine that is expanded to include a bird who doesn’t speak. Along his journey, Vernon elicits and receives help from a wide variety of birds as he explores new homes and ways of life that might be suitable for his new friend.
Theological Conversation Partners: Matthew, Mark, and Luke all share the story of a group of friends who went to great lengths to help their paralyzed friend meet Jesus. They had no doubt heard of Jesus’ amazing power to heal and so they made a plan. When they arrived at the packed house where Jesus was teaching, they formulated a new plan that required some pretty extreme measures to get their friend to Jesus. Removing a portion of the roof, the four friends lowered the paralytic down through the roof until he was laid in front of Jesus. Seeing the faith of the friends, Jesus declared to the man that his sins were forgiven and his paralysis healed. A miracle happened that day because four friends believed it could and did everything in their power to help a friend in need. When we look beyond our own needs to identify the needs of others and believe in God’s power to do amazing things, we can offer our acts of friendship up to the miracles that can and will happen. (Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:18-26)
Faith Talk Questions:
- Name a time when you have helped someone in need? How did you know of their need? What did you do to help?
- How did helping someone else make you feel? Why do we help others? Read Matthew 25:35-39 to hear Jesus’ words about helping those in need.
- The story of the four friends who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus is one story of helping others. Can you name other Bible stories that teach us how to help people in need? Read Luke 10:25-37 for one example.
This review was written by regular contributor Krista Lovell.
A Home for Bird by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.