6 Jun

15799165Bluebird illustrated by Bob Staake (2013)

A lonely boy goes through life being teased and bullied. The bluebird befriends him and just when the boy starts to feel happiness he encounters fear and sadness in the park. The bluebird, in an effort to distract the bullies, becomes injured – maybe even dying. The boy is overcome with guilt and heartbreak. Suddenly another bird appears, then another, and another. The redbird, and the yellow bird, and the green bird, and the other colored birds come and take the boy holding the bluebird into the sky. Above the city and above the clouds, the bluebird is rejuvenated and flies away in the heavens.

Bob Staake tells this story and more without a single word. His masterful artwork speaks to the reader with descriptive scenes, actions, and most importantly feelings. The colors you see on the front cover are the only colors in the whole book until the end when birds of different colors come to lift the boy and bluebird into the sky.

There is something about this book that tugs at your heart and soul. It begs to be read over and over. I can look at any spread and immediately be drawn into the story. I actually felt myself draw inward when the boy was being teased, and sigh with relief when he made friends with the children at the park, and tense when the bullies came out of the shadows, and rise when the birds carried the boy in the sky. In its quietude, it is a private story to be felt more than read, and Bob Staake was a genius not to let words interfere with the story.

4 Responses to “Bluebird”

  1. jheitman22 June 7, 2014 at 8:01 AM #

    Thanks for this feature, Juliana. I haven’t seen this one yet, and now I know that I must!


  2. Patricia Tilton June 6, 2014 at 6:13 PM #

    What a beautiful story. It covers so many issues. Does it leave the reader wondering if the bluebird dies? Is it a grief book? From your description I wondered.


    • Juliana Lee June 7, 2014 at 6:59 AM #

      Pat, the illustrator leaves that up to the reader. The bird appears to be lifeless in the boy’s hands. When they get high enough in the sky the bird is revived and flies away. He continues flying higher without the other birds and the boy. I like that it’s left to the interpretation of the reader.


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