Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Patrick McDonnell
Picture Book  Series
For ages 5 and up
Little Brown, 2008   ISBN: 978-0316005098

One day the last leaf on a tree falls gently to the ground. It lands squarely on the head of a little bird that is snoozing at the base of the tree. The little bird looks up and it sees that all the birds in the tree are gone. It is all alone!

Then Mooch the cat comes alone. The little bird asks Mooch where the birds have gone, and the cat explains that they have begun their journey south. Naturally the little bird is very distressed. It has been left behind and it is all alone. Ah, but it is not alone, because Mooch is there, and Mooch is going to help the little bird find its friends so that it too can fly south.

It is extraordinary how a few simple drawings can tell such a moving story about an act of kindness. No narrative is needed because we can see all too well what is happening. We can sympathize with the little bird's predicament and it is warming to see Mooch take the little bird by the wing and lead it through streets and woods.

The illustrations are spare, expressive, and beautifully rendered so that the reader's entire attention is focused on the two little characters who are walking across the pages. Without a doubt Patrick McDonnell is a master storyteller and a gifted artist.