I Am a Bird by Dana Walrath & Jamie Kim (Atheneum Books)

This beautiful book, a small 21 x 21 cm square, fits neatly in your hands and skips through pages of short verse and joyful images, taking you on a delightful carefree journey with father and son, to the beach. 

The boy runs onto the beach, the picnic rug fluttering behind him like glorious wings. Seagulls encircle them, as parent and child’s faces are lit with smiles, ready to enjoy quality time together. Jamie Kim’s illustrations capture the mood of the moment with shadows, reflections of  birds in the water, foaming waves, faces filled with emotion and limbs ready to race. 

Walrath’s verse flows seamlessly, and after each page turn, the verb turns into a noun, a very intriguing concept to someone in year 2!

I used this text as an exercise for Mr.7 to see how the same word can be a noun and a verb. While there are plenty of examples of this in textbooks and online, working from a beautiful story book had the benefit of not feeling like you were teaching or learning at all. 

I am a bird. I fly. 

I’m a fly. I land.

The pace of Kim’s artwork moves the story forward in cheerful anticipation of what the day will bring. There is movement in the sky, sea and characters on land that involves the reader in the merry day at the beach. I love the way she has painted the cresting waves and clouds resting on the horizon and the parent and son definitely have a spring in their step. 

The story goes on to show us all the fun activities they get up to on the beach — splashing, floating, fishing, waving, exploring. burrowing and tickling! The words in the text could also be used as examples for homonyms.

The close to a fun and loving day is set in a crimson sunset to a slightly different rhyme, that ends beautifully. 

“I am a bird. I glide  into arms open wide. I’m the hands that hold and the eyes that shine… when it’s you and it’s me and the sea.”

Poetry picture books are delightful and this one is just gorgeous. I guarantee you’ll enjoy reading this book with your little one! So do check it out!!

Suggested read aloud to 3+. Recommended for a beginner reader.

Published by Atheneum Books (Simon & Schuster), 2018

If you would like this book for your child’s bookshelf, check out your local book shops, because bookshops are amazing places and should be supported to keep them open! However, the convenience of clicking from your comfy sofa is sometimes a necessity. In that case, Booktopia it!

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