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Kitchen Table Reviews: Boo Hoo Bird

Little ones will want to read this brightly colored and very relatable story over and over.

By Mir Kamin | September 18 , 2009
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<i>Boo Hoo Bird</i> by Jeremy Tankard
Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Who can resist a brightly-colored book with a sneaker-clad bird sitting on the cover, shedding a tear and peering up at a band-aid on his head? Not me. It immediately took me back to when my children were small and demanded bandages for every injury (real or perceived).

Me: Okay, who wants to do a synopsis of what happens in the book?

Son: They’re playing catch and Bird gets bonked with the ball, and then nothing they do makes him feel better, he just cries and moans, until everyone else is crying, and then he says he feels better.

Me: Yep, that’s pretty much what happens. But when you say it like that, it doesn’t sound like it could possibly be a good book. Was it a good book?

Son: Yeah, ‘cause it was really funny. It’d be perfect for little kids.

Daughter: I think it’s really exaggerated, though. I mean, first he’s all “That hurt!” And then it’s on to “I think I’m getting dizzy” and “I can hardly walk!” That’s kind of ridiculous.

Me: I agree, he’s clearly being pretty melodramatic. Do you know anyone who tends to be like that?

Immediately, both children pointed at the other one. And I tried really, really hard not to laugh. (I failed.)

Daughter: Hey! Come on, he doesn’t “feel better” until everyone else is sad? We’re not like that!

Me: Uh, I don’t think he feels better because everyone else is sad, I think he suddenly feels better because everyone has stopped paying attention to him. He was enjoying being in the spotlight, you see.

Daughter: … oh. Okay, that’s sort of like us.

Me: Mmhmmm. What about the illustrations?

Son: I really like the colors. There’s a lot to look at on every page.

Daughter: Yeah, like the characters are always the first thing you see, but then there’s plenty going on behind them. And having pages be primarily one color or another sort of makes it seem like they go through the seasons.

Me: How did you like the last page? [Once they resume playing catch, Bird gets bonked again.]

Daughter: That’s… kind of dumb.

Me: You’re thinking about it like a middle-schooler. What if you were a little kid?

Son: I thought it was hilarious.

Me: So did I. A little kid will want to hear this book over and over, and that will be funny every time.

Daughter: Okay, I guess for little kids it’s funny.

I am totally going to read this book to my daughter the next time she claims we obviously don’t care about her at all.

Pros: Brightly-hued artwork with plenty of visual interest on every page. Everyone knows a Boo Hoo Bird in one form or another. The ending is funny every single time.

Cons: Bird is kind of a drama queen. Children will claim they are not, and have never been, anything like him. Reading the same book one hundred times a day.

Boo Hoo Bird gets three thumbs up from our kitchen table. Interestingly, all three thumbs are hoping to be the center of attention.

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