With a mother like me, my daughter is basically forced into reading books. All the time. Lucky for me, she seems to be an eager reader, and she’s even more delighted to be a test case when it comes to kids books that are sent to me for review. “I would have loved to have brand new books arrive at my doorstep when I was kid” I longingly think as I read another offering to my (sometimes) unwilling toddler, but I suppose that just cements my transition into adulthood: I now think my life was much harder than my child’s, which is apparently a rite of passage for any parent.
The King of the Birds seems to have really captured the attention of my kid, I’m guessing for a few reasons. First, the illustrations are very cool. They are colourful and intentionally messy, with a mix of actual photos. I’m sure there is a technical term for this, but for now I will just label it as ‘cool’. Secondly, the dialogue makes me laugh, which in turn makes my daughter laugh. Score! Lastly, there is the perfect amount of text on each page. She’s not turning the page before I’m done speaking (which happens often in other books), but it’s enough to keep her interested, which is all that really matters at this point. When she gets older and can understand what’s actually happening in the story, I think she’ll grow to like it even more.
Another interesting aspect of this book is the fact that it’s based on a story from Flannery O’Connor‘s childhood. O’Connor is a famous female writer, fyi. This could be a very naive hope of mine (as a parent, I now scrabble for optimism anywhere I can find it), but as my toddler’s grasp of the English language increases, reading this story can open up a larger discussion about female writers, American writers, the difference between fiction and non-fiction, etc. I know, I may be reaching a bit, but a girl’s gotta dream, right?