Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Bob Staake
Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
Random House, 2013   ISBN: 978-0375870378

In a grey city world there is a little boy who is friendless and lonely. At school many of the other children laugh at the little boy, which naturally hurts his feelings and makes him feel even lonelier. One day a little bluebird sits on the little boy’s classroom window sill. It watches the little boy and when he walks home at three o’clock it follows him. Then the bluebird tries to make friends with the little boy, and it even manages to make him smile.

   The little boy finds himself interacting with the bird, playing hide-and-seek with it, and then sharing his cookie with his charming little companion. When the other children ignore the little boy, the bird comes and sits on his shoulder, making the little boy feel special.

   In the park the little boy buys a toy boat and he and his new friend play with it, and the other children playing with their boats notice the little boy and the bird and respond to them in a friendly and welcoming way. Then the little boy goes into a wooded part of the park where he encounters a trio of bullies and his special afternoon with his new friend is spoiled.

   All too often in this world we are too busy or too indifferent to notice when people around us are unhappy. In this extraordinary worldless picture book Bob Staake explores a special relationship that a little bird offers a lonely child. We see how compassion and an offer of friendship can brighten someone’s life, and how cruel bullying and aggression is. Though the tale is touched with pain and loss, it also gives readers a bright message of hope.