Tuesday, September 6, 2011


by Angela Johnson
September 2011

I just needed an audiobook to listen to after finishing LionboyThis was short and seemed interesting.  That's what it turned out to be - short and interesting and not much more. I enjoyed the audiobook because it was read by three different people - all of them children.

The title character is nicknamed Bird. She received this name from her stepfather, Cecil. When Cecil leaves the family, Bird decides to go in search of him.  The book begins with her living in the shed of a farm family.  When they leave for church on Sunday mornings, Bird takes advantage of the empty house to get food and to take a bath. It's clear to the reader that she has been living this way for some time.  Only Ethan knows that Bird is there and he sometimes leaves food for her.

Ethan is hungry for friends. He has grown up isolated because of a bad heart condition. The book begins with Ethan getting stronger after a heart transplant.  He's fascinated by "the girl in the shed" and wants to meet her rather than simply leaving food for her.

The third child (I should really say teenager) is Jay. He's under house arrest by "borrowing" old Mrs. Pritchard's car for a joyride. He's also dealing with the death of his brother.  He meets Bird one day while sneaking out of the house for a change of scenery.

Ethan's, Jay's, Bird's and Mrs. Pritchard's  lives all intersect and they find that even the smallest kindness can begin to heal.

I wasn't completely satisfied with this book. Perhaps I would have liked it better had I read it and really paid attention. Listening to the 2 disc audiobook, I was a little surprise when the book just ended without much resolution.   But none of our lives are "resolved" until the day we die, so I suppose Bird is a book about real life.

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