Vernon the frog was very happy. He spent his days in the mud, searching out interesting things. Then one day, he finds a friend. Bird may not say much (or anything, really), but as Vernon says when he introduces his new friend to Skunk and Porcupine, “Bird is shy… but also a very good listener.” After Vernon and Bird spend more time together, Vernon begins to worry that Bird may be sad—after all, he still isn’t talking! And that’s when things begin to get interesting.
In A Home for Bird, the newest picture book by Philip C. Stead, author of the Caldecott Award-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Vernon is determined to find Bird a home in which he will finally be happy.
However, it’s not always easy to find a home for someone who doesn’t talk. With help from his friends, Vernon creates first a boat (from a teacup, drinking straw, napkin and spoon) and later a hot-air balloon (from the same teacup, some string and a large red balloon), all in the quest to find Bird his home. The satisfying ending of the book is foretold from the dedication page, but will still bring surprise to some children, and the excitement of being able to “figure it out” to others.
A Home for Bird is a stunning book. In his usual way, Stead creates a story that is commanding in its simplicity. Never one to use too many words, Stead builds strong characters and powerful relationships with never more than five lines of text on a page. Stead is also able to create a vivid peek into the world of Vernon, Bird, Skunk and Porcupine with his unique scribbled illustrations. The humorous details in every picture make this book perfect for story time and group reading, and the compassionate characters make it perfect for reading cuddled together. Vernon is the type of caring, wonderful friend everyone wants to spend more time with.