“Like the singin’ bird and the croakin’ toad I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name” -- Jim Croce
“Vernon was out foraging for interesting things when he found Bird.” Vernon is a toad. Bird -- as we learn from the illustration on the full copyright spread -- is the inanimate cuckoo from a cuckoo clock that has been unwittingly sent forth into the world when the hour struck whilst the clock was being transported (amidst a comically overflowing pickup truckload of belongings).
Being such a friendly sort, Vernon is initially not bothered by Bird’s silence. He takes him under wing, introducing Bird to his friends and taking him along on his various wanderings. But eventually, when Vernon and his comrades share their mounting concerns about Bird’s silence, Vernon selflessly sets off to help Bird find his home. “He readied a boat, found an oar, said goodbye to old friends, and together with Bird, followed the river into the great unknown.”
“Movin’ me down the highway, Rolling me down the highway” -- Jim Croce
Positioning the silent Bird in a succession of possible homes (a birdcage, a birdhouse, an ajar mailbox surrounded by pink flamingo lawn ornaments, etc.), the duo finally end up outside the house where the original truckload of belongings has been delivered. Inside the house, Vernon sees a little blue house hanging on the wall. Carrying Bird, he shimmies up the chain, puts Bird to bed upstairs, and finds himself shelter below (amidst the clock workings).
“Vernon awoke with the morning light. He liked this house and the cheerful sound it made. ‘I wonder if Bird likes it too?’ thought Vernon. “And Bird said…” (Well, you know what Bird said.) This is just such a happy and zany feel-good friendship story. The world can surely use a lot more Vernons. And I just love the brightness and cartoon-ness of the illustrations here. There is a half-page image of Vernon and Bird standing outside the house as the green junk truck heads off into a yellow-orange-pink-purple sunset that I so badly long to appropriate for a tee-shirt image. A book that truly made my day.
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA
See more of his recommendations: Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com/
Vernon, a toad of great heart, has gone out foraging for interesting things. As his curiosity leads along he discovers Bird who seems to be lost. "Are you okay?" Vernon asks. Bird does not answer. Vernon, armed with his heart of gold, shows us what caring looks like, what empathy looks like and what friendship looks like.
Though Bird is clearly not a Toad, Vernon accepts him at first sight and steps into his shoes sensing and understanding just what Bird needs. The story ends with a fun, surprising and satisfying big finish. It is so, so good to be home!
Recommended by: Barb