Picture Book Review - Bluebird

Author/Illustrator: Bob Staake
Publisher: Random House (April 9, 2013)
Source: Purchased Copy
Audience: Ages 4 to 10
Wordless * Friendship * Bullying

Description from the publisher:
In his most beautiful and moving work to date, Bob Staake explores the universal themes of loneliness, bullying, and the importance of friendship. In this emotional picture book, readers will be captivated as they follow the journey of a bluebird as he develops a friendship with a young boy and ultimately risks his life to save the boy from harm. Both simple and evocative, this timeless and profound story will resonate with readers young and old.

Bob Staake has been working on this book for 10 years, and he believes it is the story he was born to write. 

My thoughts on this book:
Each year, I look for what I can say is the best of the best in picture books.  Some years, the Caldecott Committee and I are in sync on the choices of outstanding picture books and other years we diverge and travel down different paths.  We are about one-third of the way through 2013 and I have already looked at a few hundred picture books.  Some are beautifully illustrated but lack the strength of a powerful story.  Other books have amazing text, but fail to wow readers with their pictures.  A few have text and illustrations that compliment and enhance one another.  Yet, for me, the leader of the pack is a book that tells a powerful story without a single word.

Bluebird by Bob Staake is one of the most powerful picture books that I have seen in a long time.  I first saw this book as an F & G (folded and gathered) and knew that I had to have it.  I have looked at it multiple times since and with each reading I see a new element that I missed in a previous read through.

I lack the words or the technical understanding to express what Staake communicates through a limited, but intentional color palette.  How do I convey the subtle but important details revealed in each frame? Staake is brilliant in his artistic layout and storytelling that for the observant reader the lack of words is never an issue.

Staake's story of a lonely boy, a small bluebird, a special friendship, and how the choices of various individuals can have significant impacts on the lives of others is a story that won't be quickly forgotten.  I, seriously, hope that this year's Caldecott committee will agree with me that Bluebird deserves to be recognized with a shiny medal.  If not, I am going to make my own shiny medal for this powerful story that will move every reader young and old.
Check out the official book trailer:

Interview with Bob Staake on Random Acts of Reading, click here

More information about Bob Staake: website | twitter | facebook |

Bluebird by Bob Staake

One of my favorite new books is Bluebird by Bob Staake.  I fell in love with it when I saw the F & G back in November.  Sometimes I worry that a book like Bluebird by Bob Staake will get overlooked.  Will readers catch the depth of this wordless picture book?  The message is powerful.   Look for a copy at your local independent bookstore and consider sharing it with a child.

Check out the official book trailer for Bluebird below: