Andrea Curtis

Book - 2021

"Barnaby is a blue budgie who thinks he's really something special. He's the pride and joy of the lady who owns him--until he's not. One day, the lady comes home with another bird, a smaller, yellow budgie. And Barnaby won't have it. He protests, makes a nuisance of himself, and then one day, after being scolded by the lady, Barnaby flies out the window and away. Outside of his gilded cage, Barnaby discovers a wider, wilder world. At first he considers himself much more ...beautiful and talented than the drab brown birds he meets. But growing hungrier and thirstier, he eventually realizes that there is much for him to learn. He is accepted into a flock of wild sparrow where he learns to ride the wind, track a path, and eat on the wing. One night, he finally finds his way back his old house, where he sees the little yellow bird and the lady. He also sees his golden cage, with the door wide open. Barnaby brings the yellow bird a wild berry as peace offering and warbles out a warm trill to say that he is home, but of course, he's not the same budgie anymore."--

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Curtis Checked In
Animal fiction
Picture books
Toronto, ON ; Berkeley, CA : Owlkids Books [2021]
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Main Author
Andrea Curtis (author)
Other Authors
Kass Reich (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Review

Barnaby enjoys life with his doting owner in their cozy, ramshackle home--until the parakeet's happy existence is rudely interrupted by a sweet yellow puff of a bird, ostensibly purchased as company for him. After the jealous Barnaby makes his displeasure known, ultimately fleeing through an open window, the wayward parakeet lands in the company of sparrows he deems beneath him. Nonetheless, they take the lost parakeet under their wing and teach him about kindness and thriving in the wild. It's great fun, but Barnaby doesn't forget his beloved human friend or yellow puff and looks for his former home nightly. When he finally spots the house, window open and cage waiting, he is ready to extend hospitality towards the new bird and settle back into his changed--but no less wonderful--home. Curtis' thoughtful, clever story is told via gentle observations and gorgeous descriptions, with Reich's warm gouache and colored-pencil illustrations beautifully capturing the cozy scenes and entertaining avian personalities. Though it will resonate especially with children dealing with a similar sibling addition, this will charm any young reader.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2--Barnaby the budgie loves living in a "falling-down house on the edge of a park" where his owner, "a kind lady," wearing red glasses feeds him sunflower seeds and pieces of sweet mango. One day, the lady returns from work with a fluffy yellow bird in a second cage, and Barnaby does not like the newcomer on sight. Angry, Barnaby acts out and then runs away via an open window. While searching for home he learns about the wonders in the world outside, and about other birds, who welcome him. Barnaby returns to the falling-down house but then leaves again, this time to find a fat berry as a gift for the yellow bird. The disjointed story is told in a tiny rustic font that stands out on each page. Text and pictures mostly work in tandem, but the house is not falling down at all--it's a sweet cottage. The softened scenes in a rich palette show what Barnaby is feeling and seeing as he experiences his world growing. VERDICT One budgie's emotional growth after leaving home will ring familiar to young children, but there are other titles on independence that handle the topic more directly, and without the visual disconnect.--Margaret Kennelly, Media Specialist, Indian Head Elem. Sch., MD

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

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) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.