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Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan
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Beautiful Blackbird

by Ashley Bryan

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All the birds in Africa are colorful, except one particular bird, the blackbird. All of the other birds want to beautiful like blackbird because all the colors reflect off of blackbirds black shiny feathers. Blackbird agrees to paint black on all the birds but teaches them that true beauty comes from within.
  gfurth | Jun 12, 2014 |
I expected something more dramatic to happen in this book - that the birds wouldn't be happy after they'd changed their pattern, or that Blackbird would run out of ink leaving some birds out. I was pleasantly surprised that Blackbird was willing to paint black on the other birds without complaint, that there was just enough for everybody, and that the birds were all content.
  vsoler | Jun 8, 2014 |
This is a creative story on telling how birds became so distinct by trying to be the 'beautiful blackbird.' I love that the art is done by paper cut and how it discusses diversity and that everyone should appreciate their heritage.
  astares | May 24, 2014 |
This folktale is about a group of birds, who while are all the beautiful colors of the rainbow, think the Blackbird is the most beautiful because he shines all colors in the sun. They want to share some of his black color, so even though he tells the other birds that beauty comes from within, Blackbird paints markings on the other birds in a black color.

Personally, while I like the message, I wasn't particularly impressed with the book. I couldn't connect to it, and felt like the book promoted assimilation and blending in. I hope that doesn't sound too blunt or depressing! ( )
  aelmer | Mar 15, 2014 |
This beautiful book uses cut-paper collages to tell an adaptation of a Zambian folktale in which a blackbird decorates the other birds of the forest with black markings. The text has a rhythmic poetry to it, although it isn't formatted as verse, which could throw you off when reading it--with a little practice, this could be very effective as a storytime book, though. I like the nuanced message; there's the standard "be yourself, it's the inside that's important" part, but the birds also find value in altering their outsides, not out of a sense of obligation, but because they enjoy it aesthetically and it's fun. ( )
  PlasticAtoms | Mar 15, 2014 |
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Book description
Blackbird is the most envied bird in the forest. All the other birds think that he is the most beautiful with all his wonderful black feathers. They are not satisfied with their plain red, yellow, blue, and green feathers. The other birds beg Blackbird to give them some of his beauty; to paint some of their feathers black. Blackbird decides to share some of his "blackening brew" with the others. But he makes sure to state that no matter how many black marks he gives the other birds that he will still be himself and that they will still be themselves. A quote that is repeated throughout the story, “I’ll still be me, and you’ll still be you”. This book really emphasizes that true beauty comes from within.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689847319, Hardcover)

Black is beautiful, uh-huh!

Long ago, Blackbird was voted the most beautiful bird in the forest. The other birds, who were colored red, yellow, blue, and green, were so envious that they begged Blackbird to paint their feathers with a touch of black so they could be beautiful too. Although Black-bird warns them that true beauty comes from within, the other birds persist and soon each is given a ring of black around their neck or a dot of black on their wings -- markings that detail birds to this very day.

Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ashley Bryan's adaptation of a tale from the Ila-speaking people of Zambia reso-nates both with rhythm and the tale's universal meanings -- appreciating one's heritage and discovering the beauty within. His cut-paper artwork is a joy.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In a story of the Ila people, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they think is the most beautiful of birds, to decorate them with some of his "blackening brew."

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