This is one of the first titles in First Editions a new sub-imprint solely devoted to debuts.
Born with one misshapen wing that doesn’t develop fully, Baby Bird is from the outset, different. When the time comes for the hatchlings to leave the safety of their nest, Baby watches the rest of the brood take to the air. ‘Birds are born to fly’ thinks the little creature but Baby’s attempts to get airborne, follow them and join in the fun all end disastrously.
Baby Bird isn’t one to give up easily however and suddenly a huge face appears from the shadows and there, is not the monster Baby anticipated, but a large black bird calling itself Cooter.
Initially Cooter upsets the fledgling but then offers to become a supportive buddy and together they spend the afternoon trying to get Baby flying: fun though it might be for Cooter, for his friend, it most certainly is not.
Is Baby Bird ever to achieve his heart’s desire? Seemingly not for after due consideration and repeated failures Cooter concludes, ‘I don’t think you’ll ever be able to fly with that little wing.’ His comment precipitates a fall, considerable flapping, a rescue and a revelation on Cooter’s part that changes the atmosphere completely and with it Baby Bird’s outlook on life and flight.
This beautifully illustrated story really is something of a tear-jerker but essentially it’s one of hope and its uplifting ending will surely make your spirits soar. Self-acceptance and the power of friendship win through.
Artist Zosienka’s watercolours really do show the changing emotions of Baby Bird and his supportive friend. Sadly its author, Andrew Gibbs didn’t live to see this wonderfully inclusive book published but his main character truly embodies the spirit of determination no matter how tough the odds.