The Bicklebys' Birdbath
The Bicklebys' Birdbath
Atheneum Books, Hardcover, 9781416906247, 40pp.
Publication Date: March 9, 2010
The Bicklebys’ yard is in chaos. There’s a moose running amuck, crows stealing bows, a bee in a stinging mood, a boy who can’t stop sneezing, and a mailman who’s about to make the most unusual delivery of his career. But how did the craziness commence? And what exactly is in that great big box the mailman’s lugging up the path?
A comedy of errors that’ll deliver giggles galore.
Roberta Angaramo lives in Italy. She has illustrated a version of the Hans Christan Anderson classic, The Ugly Duckling. "Visit her on Roberta.Angaramo.com.
In addition to blue birds, yellow birds, and orange birds, there's a mailman in the Bicklebys' birdbath. He wouldn't be there if the girl with the garden hose hadn't sprayed some nest-building crows, and, in the tradition of "This Is the House That Jack Built," one incident snowballs into another and, in this case, results in a soaked mailman. Although the chain of events causes havoc in the Bicklebys' yard, everyone from the moose to the goose to the lawn-mowing boy pitches in to restore order. Set in the summer, in a yard of green grass and blooming flowers, this enjoyable read-aloud contains plenty of rhyme, lots of brightly colored illustrations (rendered in acrylics), and one very cute white goose with great balance.— School Library Journal
This jaunty cumulative tale has a pleasingly playful complexity, both in the wording and in its sense of time. Perry concocts a rhythmic text with unexpected twists and turns, and rather than moving the story forward, it works backward. The Bicklebys' birdbath is a ramshackle affair, cracked and leaking, though clearly loved by the birds it serves, birds that stare back at readers with startling engagement. Angaramo's lush artwork follows the action as the mailman demolishes the birdbath after being chased by a goose that had been startled by a moose. The story lopes along, with a "flock / full of curious crows / that spruced up their nest / with the buttons and bows / that came from the scarecrow / in nifty new clothes / that fell in the yard where the / long green grass grows." Meanwhile, the illustrations catch the unraveling of the adventure-at one point the mailman is just a blip on the horizon, deep in the future-until the narrative flips into real time and a new birdbath makes an appearance. Sweetly clever. --Kirkus Reviews