Book of the Week: Bluebird

June 3, 2013

Bluebird by Bob Staake

Images and text by Carter.

There’s something extraordinarily engaging about a book with no words. And there’s just something plain old extraordinary about this particular one. Bluebird, by Bob Staake, is a story that will sweep you into a fierce friendship and shatter your heart into pieces when that friendship is tested. But before you turn the last page, that bursting heart of yours will get all patched up. It’s understated and overwhelming all at once.

Because there are no words, the story unfolds visually. The panels are jam packed with joy and surprise and simultaneously weave a gentle call for empathy. One boy, quiet and alone. One bird, insistent on friendship. It’s a tough story, but its truthful – and so, so beautiful.

P.S. – Tell me, do you have any favorite wordless picture books? Gabrielle and I are both big fans of this one by Jerry Pinkney, and I adore anything and everything by Barbara Lehman!

Bluebird by Bob Staake

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 1 trackback }

Speechless: Part II | Lettered Ladies
January 17, 2014 at 8:17 am

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 katy June 3, 2013 at 7:54 am

We love this book – Flotsam: and this one – Robot Dreams, which is a little longer – – I find my non-reading kids constantly pulling these two off the shelf to look at and “read.”


2 Carter Higgins June 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Oh, I don’t know Robot Dreams! I’ll have to check it out. If you live near Powell’s consider me jealous!


3 Kristina June 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

Our kids adore Wonder Bear by Tao Nyeu. I bought it for the gorgeous colors and illustrations that seem to pop off the page and both our children love it for the endless possibilities of stories that they can dream up. So far no two interpretations have been exactly the same.


4 Carter Higgins June 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I love that about wordless books. And Wonder Bear! I met Tao Nyeu at a book signing once and she was just as lovely as her art. So intricate and zen all at the same time.


5 Laura June 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Thank you for this introduction! I am eager to read this with my girls! I love getting recommendations on this topic because these books allow kids to “read” before they are actually literate. Some of our favorite wordless picture books are _South_ by Patrick McDonnell and _Wave_ and _Shadow_ by Suzy Lee.


6 Carter Higgins June 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I love Suzy Lee! Have you seen her newest book with author Jesse Klausmeier, Open This Little Book? She’s so inventive!


7 Laura June 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I haven’t seen that book yet! Thanks for the tip!


8 Christina June 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage. Definitely a favorite!


9 Amy Hackworth June 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Oh! We love this one, too. Such a great story and such great illustrations!


10 Donna June 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm

How prescient! We checked this out from the Library just on Saturday! It’s a beautiful book and wonderful story. Our boys love Staake’s “Hello Robots!” and can recite the refrain of the story.


11 Amy Hackworth June 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I love Bob Staake’s style. One of my favorite board books when our boys were little was his clever ABC book. I think it’s out of print now, but it had such a fun, bright, geometric illustrations. He is good!


12 Betsy June 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I thought Bluebird was beautifully drawn but I was so disappointed by the blatant similarities to The Red Balloon.


13 Carter Higgins June 4, 2013 at 11:20 am

Betsy, you’re right. I had forgotten about The Red Balloon when I first read Bluebird, so I think my unadulterated read was swept up in its own magic. And then that similarity was pointed out to me by a review, and it made me crinkle my nose a little. I don’t know what to do with that thought other than enjoy both stories, one in still frames and one in motion. What do you think?


14 DianeG June 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm

We love “Good Dog, Carl” by Alexandra Day and “Pancakes for Breakfast” by Tomie dePaola, as well as a few others mentioned above. As a word lover, I was a bit stymied by wordless books at first, but my two-year old daughter loves them so much I have learned to love them too. Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions – I’ve added a bunch of titles to our list of books to find at the public library.


15 Carter Higgins June 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

I forgot about Pancakes for Breakfast! (Tummy grumbles.)


16 Amy June 4, 2013 at 10:05 am

Tuesday, by David Wiesner is a favorite of mine.


17 Saartje June 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm

We like ‘Where is the cake?’ by The-Tjong Khing. You can follow a different character through the story each time around. My kids (aged 6 and 2) can’t get enough of it!


18 Joanna June 11, 2013 at 4:02 am

*Big sigh*


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: