Friday, April 12, 2013

Windows With Birds - Perfect Picture Book Friday



I have a new favorite book about moving (sorry, Sesame Street!).
It was one of those lucky finds. The cover is nice, but not the sort of cover that grabs you by the throat and says “READ ME.”  But I was browsing the author R’s and I hadn’t seen this book before so I picked it up.
This book is a master class for the writer’s rule to say everything you need to say with as few words as possible. I’m not moving. I don’t have a cat. Still, the words gripped me and pulled me in.

Title: Windows With Birds

Author/Illustrator: Karen Ritz

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, 2010

Audience:4-8

Themes: Moving, Family, Home, Cats

Opening: This was the house (page turn)
                that had windows with birds (turn)
                twenty-six stairs, twenty-nine hiding places (turn)
                and one foolish mouse in the basement. ( turn)

Synopsis: You experience a move from a sprawling single family home to a smaller, high-rise apartment from a cat’s point of view. Without schmatz, the author conveys the feelings of disorientation and difficulty that accompanies a move. As a writer, I especially enjoyed Ms. Ritz’s switch from past to present tense and the judicious use of the words house and home to let the reader know that what is truly important to a family travels with them wherever they are together.

Resources/Activities:Apart from the message about moving, this book brings up an interesting question about how our surroundings make a place feel like home. Without going to look, ask kids to draw a picture of what they could see outside their favorite window. Make a list of what makes the place you live feel like home. The Librarians' Choices blog suggests that older readers can "create their own stories about “change” moments and imagine it from the perspective of an animal." If you are moving and you have animals, read this book then go to these posts by the San Francisco SPCA and the Humane Society of the United States.

Is this book new to you? Let me know. If not, I'd love to hear what you thought of it!


This review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.

20 comments:

  1. How cute! The title and cover illustration really does jump out at you and begs to be read.

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    1. The illustrations all have the lush quality to them.

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  2. It sure is new to me! I'm very interested in reading this as a lover of both birds and cats. As well, your analysis of the story (how the author is judicious with words) and the theme of how the move can throw a child for a loop ...but as expressed through a cat...makes me even more interested. Sounds like a serendipitous discovery, Wendy!

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    1. That's me, better lucky than smart.

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  3. I love the beginning - now I'm going to have to go find a copy so I can read it myself. Moving is such a hard thing to do - I love that this comes from a cat's point of view. Also, the whole thing about cats and birds.... bound to raise some discussion around the dinner table, eh?

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    1. As long as there's the pane of glass in between, we can love cats AND birds.

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  4. So glad that you didn't reject it for the cover. Love that sparse text and cat POV!

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    1. I didn't dislike the cover! It was just quieter than a lot of the bold graphics nearby and I almost passed over it.

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  5. Wendy, I really like the theme of this book, especially from the cat's viewpoint. And, this is a good time to share it when families move in the spring/summer. Great selection today!

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    1. Thanks, Pat. We've moved a bunch and I would have liked to have a book like this then.

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  6. Ooo - that cover WOULD draw me in! My kitty looked just like that grey tiger.

    My PPBF this week was a lucky find too. I think I would have been equally happy finding WINDOWS WITH BIRDS. Will ask my library for a copy today!

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    1. When you're not looking for them, you often find real gems.

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  7. Sounds adorable and very necessary. Moves happen. Looking at moving in a fun way, and finding what stays constant is a nice way to handle it.

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    1. Maybe Cupcake wants to do a book? Windows with squirrels?!

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  8. This looks like an enchanting book. It is a new one to me. The San Francisco SPCA is amazing. I've been there before and the cats and dogs there have very nice facilities. Some of them even have televisions with birds that the cats can watch.

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    1. I did some animal rescue work in the past. It is emotionally draining. Kudos to everyone who helps.

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  9. Lovely book Wendy. We used to have a cat and dog that went everywhere together. We would put them in our local pet care, while we were away overseas, every two years. The best part about our pet care service was that they could stay in a "suite" together, complete with cane bedroom furniture, tv and piped surround music, cooked food dished up on plates, and a Japanese garden and decking outside the door...LOL. What made me laugh was the comments/instruction cards left on the doors with each pet. One small poodle's card read "Jenny likes to be dressed in her PJ's before going to bed at night...." Love it!

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    1. Your pets were lucky to have you! We had a special needs dog who required meds four times a day and a dog who wouldn't eat when she wasn't at home, so that limited out options.

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  10. I like the sound of the title...sets me off on a daydream!

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  11. The book is new to me, Wendy...so thank you!
    Moving can be very hard on all concerned, including (and sometimes especially) the pets. Love that the story is from the cat's POV. Great review. :)

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