Review Blog

Mar 10 2010

How to heal a broken wing by Bob Graham

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Walker Books, 2008. ISBN 9781406325492
(Ages Junior Primary) Highly Recommended. This award winning picture book is one that warms the heart and soul of all readers, and the story it portrays will cause many to simply go 'ahhh' at its completion. As with many of Bob Graham's picture books, the premise is seemingly simple. A small boy finds a wounded bird on the street near the underground. No one else has seen it or if they have, they have hurried past, or moved around it and not bothered. The boy retrieves the bird, takes it home and cares for it. With time and care, the bird recovers from its injury until the family takes the bird back to where they found it and release it. The background story of a loving, caring family permeates the story, as the pictures show the family creating a place for it in their home, bringing home a bird cage for it, watching it take its first steps and then flying around their sitting room. The whole is redolent of looking after what is in your own backyard, of taking time to see what it in front of you, of being prepared to put yourself out for someone or something else, of reaching out to help. The implicit storyline portrays a selfless individual caring about his environment. But more than this, the whole is based firmly, as are all of Bob Graham's books, in the family. The heart of his tales show a loving, caring family. The children are never alone, they have parents there to help and guide them, to back them up. A beautiful picture book, I love the way Graham shows the family, the parents concerned not only for the bird but their child, the looks on their faces showing their apprehension about their baby. The yellow glow on several pages spotlights the family in the midst of the moving, uncaring crowd, intent on their own purpose of rescuing the bird. Children reading the book will love looking at the crowd of people, the plethora of animal images in the family's home, the sights of London and finally a bird's eye view of the city.
Fran Knight

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