A Home For Bird

By Philip C. Stead

{Philip and his wife, Erin, are the masterminds behind 2011 Caldecott-winning A Sick Day For Amos McGee. Erin also illustrated the gorgeous And Then Its Spring earlier this year.}

Fangirl alert. I like to think the ‘C. Stead’ part of his signature is reminiscent of my own jumbled ‘chiggins. Although I did mess that up on my driver’s license, so I really have no proof.

Vernon, a determined little toad, is a tiny collector of interesting things. On the day he finds Bird, Vernon decides to help Bird find his home.

Slow down when you read these small books…a bold but subtle clue reveals some details about Bird to the reader. Of course, dear Vernon doesn’t realize this, which just makes his journey even sweeter.

But. YOU MUST READ THIS POST. Philip reveals the history of this story and what he learned about his storytelling process with this one. He shares sketches and character studies, and the tender love he has for this book will smack you in the gut.

What more can I add to that? Not a lot.

A Home For Bird is just plain delightful. The crayon art is clearly a sophisticated execution of that medium, yet it retains an endearing childlike quality. The colors are bright but muted, the textures rough but warm. The word that comes to mind most is cozy. It’s a story that wraps around you.

I like to read it with a British accent. A terrible British accent, but I like to think that’s what Vernon sounds like. Maybe it’s a ride in the teacup? Crikey! Brilliant!

Here’s a closer look at that teacup spread. I love how the background is knocked slightly out of focus. Depth of field…with crayons. And gouache. And according to the Jules’ post above, these were unfamiliar materials to the artist. Gobsmacked.

Such a winner. Such a keeper. Grateful for this book in my library, and for this story in the world.

AND A PS…A HUGE humbled thank you to Betsy Bird and Mental Floss for including me in recent posts! Huge, really. And welcome if you have bounced over from those web gems. Hope you’ll stick around!


  • tinamcho
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    You made me fall in love with this book, Carter! It’s so charming. And I’m awestruck at Philip’s interview at the 7 Imp blog. I’d never read that blog before. Thanks for sharing!

  • Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Oh good! The 7 Imp blog is out of control amazing.

  • Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I love the art. I will have to go check out the interview.

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