Little Home Bird by Jo Empson

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Little Home Bird by Jo Empson

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: Wonderful illustrations and a thoughtful, gentle story combine to make this a distinctive picture book. It would be especially comforting for children who have more than one place that they call home.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 36 Date: January 2016
Publisher: Child's Play (International) Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1846438905

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Little bird loves everything about his home. All his favourite things are there or very nearby; his favourite branch, his favourite view and his favourite music too. All is happy in his little world until autumn draws near and his older brother tells him that they do in fact have two homes and the time has come to travel far to the south to move to their second home. Little bird is saddened by this news and knows that he will miss all his special, favourite things. Then little bird has a good idea! He will take his favourite things with him and then wherever he goes it will always feel like home. So we accompany little bird on his long journey and discover how he finds happiness in his new home in ways he had not expected.

So little bird starts his long journey weighed down by his numerous favourite things and almost inevitably he finds that they are too heavy to take with him. One by one the things drop from his basket as he progresses. Wonderfully all his things are discovered by those who can put each of the items to good use and so there is happiness created by little bird's loss. Finally the birds reach their destination and little bird learns a very important lesson about what makes a place a home.

This is a gentle story told in a warm and yet slightly understated style but the message it conveys is a positive and reassuring one. At first glance this is a simple story of a creature's journey and what happens to him on the way but it would also be a good way of explaining the concept of migration to very young children. The repetition of the phrase and further south the birds flew emphasises the length of their journey. There is in fact a helpful map showing the birds' route on the endpapers at the end of the story. However what raises the book to another level is that it would also be a real comfort for children who have more than one home of their own. The children that I have shared this with have been entranced by the story and care about the little bird. We also discussed how birds and animals cope in the winter time and what creates that feeling of home. This would definitely be an excellent addition to the primary school library.

The artwork is stunning and used to excellent effect to convey aspects of the story. There are lovely touches such as the bird marching purposefully off towards the edge of the page when he has a good idea. I also like the illustration of him weighed down by his things as the rest of the flock of birds soared into the sky. The varying scenery encountered on the journey is also beautifully depicted from the snowy scene with a shepherd to the heat of the African landscape. This is a beautiful book to linger over.

A charming and thoughtful story this would make a gentle bedtime story for little children but its content makes it a valuable book to prompt discussion too. I too have grown rather fond of little bird! Thank you to the publishers for providing this review copy.

Jo Empson's first book Rabbityness is another thoughtful story, and in my opinion an outstanding picture book, that you may like to try. For a further picture book about searching for your home Bookbag recommends Where Is Home, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Buy Little Home Bird by Jo Empson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Little Home Bird by Jo Empson at

Buy Little Home Bird by Jo Empson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Little Home Bird by Jo Empson at


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