Reviews of Barnaby

“Full of feeling.”

“A bird leaves home in a fit of pique. Barnaby, a blue budgie, lives with a White lady who feeds him “sunflower seeds and pieces of sweet mango.” For a different bird, this might be a gilded-cage existence (literally): “His cage was gold and shaped like a gumdrop castle. He had a swing and a ring, a rope to chew, and bells that jingle-jangled.” But far from feeling confined, Barnaby genuinely loves the cozy home with patched-up furniture and the human whose neck he nuzzles during his free fly-around time. Everything’s copacetic until the lady dares to bring home a second bird. “Barnaby ignore[s] the little yellow puff,” throws tantrums, and storms out the open window into the wild blue yonder. His time in nature with a flock of strangers mellows his snobbery and sense of entitlement; when he returns, he mirrors a kindness for the yellow bird that an outdoor bird modeled for him. Curtis mentions no emotions, instead using poetic figures of speech: Doubt and isolation are “silence heavy on [Barnaby’s] wings”; when Barnaby finally accepts the new family member, the yellow bird’s feathers look “soft as summer wind.” Reich’s gouache paintings with colored pencil are honey-toned and golden except the scene of Barnaby’s furious departure, which is awash with uneasy green. The lady’s off-center mouth shows a wry and solid wisdom while a crucial berry is unforgettably red and specific. Full of feeling. (Picture book. 3-8)”—Kirkus Review

Barnaby “learns the importance of kindness, and sees the beauty in things — and creatures — that he once thought to be dull.”

“I don’t know if this new book Barnaby, by Andrea Curtis and illustrated by Kass Reich, could be any sweeter. Barnaby the budgie loves his life with his owner, the lady with the red hair. But when she brings home a second bird to join them? Heck no! An angry Barnaby escapes and takes off on his own adventure. When a group of wild birds takes him under their wing, he learns the importance of kindness, and sees the beauty in things — and creatures — that he once thought to be dull.  I’m partial to bird illustrations lately, but honestly, I just adore Kass Reich’s artwork in this book. The tones, the sweeter than candy birds—it’s all beautiful and flows along with the poetic and rhythmic text by Curtis. I could see this being a great read aloud and opportunity to discuss kindness to new siblings, classmates, and being inclusive.— Canadian Picture Books Blog

“It’s a classic case of birdling rivalry.”

“It’s the story of a budgie turned brattish when a cute little canary moves into his golden cage. Unhappy with the new living arrangement, Barnaby flies away and becomes hopelessly lost. It’s a classic case of birdling rivalry, and it’s a joy to watch Barnaby find his way back home with the help of his new sparrow squad.“—Type books newsletter


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