Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Robot and the Bluebird by David Lucas

If I’m going to enjoy a picture book it better feature an indignant pigeon or be bittersweet.  That’s just how it goes.  The Robot and the Bluebird does not feature a pigeon.

The title may have given it away but this is the story of a robot.  He has a broken heart that cannot be fixed so he thinks he’s rubbish and sits on the scrap heap until one snowy day a bluebird comes to him in distress.  I won’t tell you anymore because I hope you will have the same reaction to this book that I did.  I first noticed it because of the large but muted artwork and as I flipped through the pages I became more and more engaged in this beautiful story.  Before I knew it I had read the whole book and was sighing resignedly.  Then I did what anyone does after they read a lovely picture book – I got someone else to read it.  Then I got it for my sister and her kids.  Then, eventually, I wrote a review of it. 
I am tempted to tell you more of this simple, elegant story but I know I would give it all away.  It’s not a surprise.  There’s no twist.  It’s just a gorgeous story with clear artwork.  I came away very impressed that a 24-page picture book could establish themes (self-sacrifice, finding a purpose).  I recommend it for children of all ages and it is great for instilling new vocabulary.  Be warned though:  The story is easy for children to follow but they may not understand why you’re tearing up at the end.
For more by David Lucas you can check out Halibut Jackson or if you are looking to continue feeling wistful you could read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

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