Foraging for treasures, Vernon the frog comes upon Bird, who quickly becomes his companion. Although curiously quiet, Bird becomes Vernon’s new friend as he is introduced to Porcupine and Skunk and shows him the forest, river and sky. Vernon observes that Bird is shy “but also a very good listener.” Worried that Bird misses home, Vernon sets out on a journey to find Bird’s abode. The clever illustrations make use of Vernon’s foraging treasures in a creative, playful fashion as a tea cup is useful for a cart, boat, hot air balloon basket or bird feeder. Vernon questions Bird about each possible home they come upon–a bird house, cage, mailbox, nest and even telephone wires. Finally they come upon a house at the end of the road and enter through the open window, sliding down the drapes to find a clock on the wall. Bird and Vernon fall asleep inside the clock and awake to Bird’s first words, Cuckoo Cuckoo! This delightful tale provides lots of opportunities for language learning as children can talk about what it means to be shy and why Bird is so quiet. Why is he a good listener? The illustrator gives some clues to the story before it begins, as we see a rambling moving truck filled with treasures, including a sprung cuckoo clock, making its way down the road only to be spotted again at Bird and Vernon’s final destination. Kids loved identifying the foraged items, especially the cup, and talking about how the friends used a spoon for an oar or a bottle cap for a hat. This book could inspire some writing about a story using re-cycled items!
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