Bluebird by Bob Staarke

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Bluebird by Bob Staarke

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A blockbuster book that tells a highly emotive story without the use of a single word.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 40 Date: July 2014
Publisher: Andersen
ISBN: 978-1783441853

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Comic strips are supposed to be exciting, action packed adventures. Full of bright colours, buzzing characters and onomatopoeia. This book is different in every way. For a start, there are no words. Not one single bang or crash or wallop. Then there’s the colour scheme. I think muted describes it best. This is a book of blacks, whites and greys and just a subtle touch of blue. Wow, does that blue pop though. And then there’s the theme, at which point things get really interesting.

This is the story of a boy in New York. He’s in elementary school. There are lots of kids in his class, but he has no real friends, and in fact some of the others pick on him quite a bit. We don’t know why but then there’s not always a reason. Kids can be mean like that.

The bluebird spies him through the classroom window, and when the school bell rings he flies in, ready to befriend our boy and hang out with him. They have fun together and with the bluebird rooting for him, it seems like his confidence grows, and he starts to make friends. Central Park is a lovely setting for this.

Then something bad happens. The pictures change quickly and a sense of danger builds. Our two friends are in trouble and it doesn’t end well. I was quite shocked by how badly it ended, if I’m honest. I didn’t see it coming and I loved it for that. Because sometimes life isn’t happily ever after. Sometimes bad things happen.

This is a stunning picture book that’s aimed at an older age group who are able to cope with the mature themes. It raises A LOT of talking points so you might want to be around the first time they read, just in case a debrief is needed. I was dazzled by how much of a story and how much raw emotion could come out of a book that was wordless. It really shows how awesome the pictures are because nothing is missed or lost in translation, you know exactly what is going on at every step. And it’s great for less skilled readers who might steer clear of books for their age group if they fear they’ll struggle with fluency.

This is a remarkable book that was a million miles from what I was expecting it to be. And a million times better for it.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this brilliant read.

Mr Wuffles by David Wiesner is in the same vein. Have a look.

Buy Bluebird by Bob Staarke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bluebird by Bob Staarke at

Buy Bluebird by Bob Staarke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bluebird by Bob Staarke at


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