Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Johnny and his grandmother are on their way back from the market when he spots "a small feathery hump" by the side of the road. It's a pheasant, and Johnny insists that it is just sleeping, while Grandma suspects a more permanent state of rest. Minnema (Hungry Johnny), a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, gives the boy a sweetly inquisitive, playful disposition and an authentic voice, as when he exuberantly "hoot, hoot"s, anticipating the pheasant's waking. Grandma lovingly humors her grandchild, stopping short of saying the pheasant is dead, and she mentions that the bird's feathers would be perfect for her craft work. After the pair brings the pheasant home, surprising results will upend some readers' expectations. The interplay between the two Native characters' viewpoints lends subtle humor, satisfying both idealistic and pragmatic outlooks, and the ending deepens the tender tone. Flett, who is Cree-Métis, creates muted meadow scenes that encourage contemplation, and thoughtful details (Grandma's floral scarf, a delicate pheasant feather) immerse the reader further in this delightful celebration of intergenerational love. Ages 3--8. (Nov.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 1--Young Johnny spots a pheasant by the side of the road, as he and his grandmother return from the grocery store. They pull over to check on it. Grandma says the pheasant is dead, but Johnny believes it is sleeping. They agree to bring the bird home for separate reasons: Johnny plans to care for it and keep as a pet, and Grandma wants to use its feathers to make crafts. The pheasant has plans of its own, giving Johnny and Grandma a pleasant surprise. Charming folk-art color illustrations are on one page with text on the opposite page. The illustrations cover two pages when Grandma and Johnny first approach the pheasant, with the text in the sky. The narrative touches on compassion and death as a daily part of life. VERDICT Sweet and amusing, this modern Native intergenerational story is a good general purchase.--Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA
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Review by Horn Book Review
Minnema (a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Flett (of Cree-Mtis descent) present an engaging and humorous intergenerational story of patience, hope, and surprise. Johnny spots a motionless pheasant in a ditch near the road while he and Grandma are driving back from the store. They tranport the bird home with different motivations: Johnny believes it is still alive; Grandma thinks she can use its feathers for her craftwork. At home, Johnny gathers sticks and supplies to make a proper nest for the creature while Grandma waits him out. To their amazement, the bird rouses, cries out (Hoot! Hoot!), and flutters through the room, alighting on Grandmas head before flying out the door. A dropped feather inspires creative play for the child (he zigs and zags through the yard, arms outstretched; Hoot! Hoot!) and is also a gift for Grandma. The down-to-earth and steadily paced text centers on the dialogue between characters, which adds humor and drives the plot. A vertical, isometric-esque view is used in the textured, pattern-filled illustrations, and neutral tones abound. The story arc focuses on the pheasants dramatic resurrection, but the tender and playful relationship between grandmother and grandchild is a shining constant. Elisa GallJanuary/February 2020 p.74(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
When Johnny and Grandma come home one day from shopping, Johnny spies something near the roadside ditch.They pull over and discover it is a pheasant with beautiful feathers. Johnny says it's sleeping; Grandma notes that it's "still soft." Johnny says he'll make a nest and care for it. Grandma suspects that it has been run over by a car and says she could use its feathers in her crafting, but Johnny rejoins, "Silly Grandma, he's not ready for craftwork, he's sleeping." As they are putting the pheasant in the trunk of the car, Johnny mimics its cry, saying, "Hoot! Hoot!" After settling the pheasant at home in the box, the pheasant awakens. Confused, it flies and lands on top of Grandma's headmuch to her surpriseand then escapes out of a window. Before it returns to the wild (Johnny accuses Grandma of scaring it away with talk of crafting), the pheasant leaves behind a surprise for Johnny. Minnema (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) maintains a deft balance of perspective between generations in this quietly funny tale. Both Johnny's enthusiasm and optimism and Grandma's pragmatism are fully believableany child who has found a dead or injured animal will relate. Flett's (Cree-Mtis) characteristically spare illustrations depict this tender relationship, careful details such as Grandma's game of solitaire further developing these loving Indigenous characters.This dead-bird story with a happy ending rewards children's optimism. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.