The talent show

Jo Hodgkinson

Book - 2011

A tiny red bird wants very much to win the upcoming talent show, but first he must prove that being small does not mean having little talent.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Hodgkinson Checked In
Stories in rhyme
Picture books
Minneapolis : Andersen Press USA : Distributed in the United States by Lerner Pub. Group 2011.
1st American ed
Item Description
Originally published: Great Britain : Andersen, 2010.
Physical Description
unpaged : ill. ; 25 x 29 cm
Main Author
Jo Hodgkinson (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Friends Bear, Lion, Snake, and Croc are excited about the upcoming talent show. At practice, their band is really swinging, but something's missing: vocals. Alas, "the only sounds that / they could make / were GRR, SNAP, GROWL / and HISS of Snake." It's time for auditions, but so far, no good: they dismiss the only one to audition, Red Bird ("You're much too small. / Now GO AWAY!" says Bear). But right when almost all hope is lost, a tall, mysterious, sunglasses-wearing stranger arrives, revealing a fabulous voice—and an unexpected surprise. Though perhaps a bit lengthy for younger ones, this upbeat debut's bouncy stanzas keep the pace lively, while cheerful, cartoonish art, both full page and panel style, portrays the expressive, humorously attired animals (Snake, for example, looks like a beatnik in her beret). Readers will appreciate Red Bird's determination to participate despite initial rejection as well as the reassuring message that it's not size and appearance but what's inside that matters. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Hodgkinson's American debut is a didactic tale told in plodding, rhymed verse, though her jovial illustrations partially offset the weakness of the text. A ragtag band in search of a lead singer rejects a red bird for no other reason than he's "much too small." The band members audition several singers before they are captivated by the singing of a "tall stranger," comically dressed in a long trench coat and cat's eye glasses. As the stranger sings and dances, his costume falls apart, revealing (no surprise) the red bird on stilts, but the forced gravitas of the text undercuts the humor. When the band says, "Red Bird, will you forgive us, please?/ We realize we were wrong to tease," the bird answers, "You really were unwise/ to simply judge me by my size." What follows is a brief subplot about the bird's fears of singing in front of an audience, but he quickly recovers and the band wins the talent show because, the judges judged on talent, not on size," a message that hardly needed repeating. Ages 4–9. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 1—Hodgkinson's debut is well-tuned. Drummer Bear, pianist Croc, trumpeter Lion, and percussionist Snake jam, then plan to compete in a contest, until they realize that they lack singing talent. A tiny red bird in a fedora, whom they initially dismiss for being too small, wows at auditions in disguise (striped stilts, oversize glasses, and a yellow trench coat) and receives apologies when his identity is revealed. Despite the bird's tenacity, stage fright sets in until the band's rhythm "started in his feet/and traveled quickly to his beak." The quintet, of course, wins the top prize and poses before a backdrop of stars that reflect their success. The "bigger isn't better" lesson is slightly heavy-handed, but the rhyming text and dynamic scenes in vivid colors keep the tale rocking. Panels in various sizes are simple compositions that encourage focus on the personalities depicted. From the crooning moose to the singing hippo in a boa, the illustrations don't miss a beat of humor. Read this aloud with soft but bouncy jazz in the background, and your crowd will cheer as well.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA [Page 84]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A tiny red bird wants very much to win the upcoming talent show, but first he must prove that being small does not mean having little talent.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Four friends decide to enter a talent show. A tiny red bird asks to join them, but they laugh and tell him he’s too small. But then a mysterious, tall stranger arrives to audition for lead singer and turns out to be someone quite unexpected . . .