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Bluebird by Bob Staake


by Bob Staake

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In an interview, Bob Staake described BLUEBIRD as a book about, "friendship, loneliness, compassion, loss." While I agree that this wordless picture book is about those ideas, I would also add "bullying" to the list.

A bluebird sees a lonely boy walking, feels compassion for him, and befriend him. They share fun times, until they encounter some bullies. A stick is thrown and the bluebird is injured and/or killed. I read this as a powerful message about bullying -- that bullying always hurts; most times we can't see the damage that is done, but sometimes, such as the case with the bluebird, we can.

After first reading this book, I struggled with figuring out what I think happened at the end. Because this is a wordless picture book, there are different interpretations that can be made. The author has done this intentionally. Staake said, "Among a classroom of children there can be many different ways to interpret the final scenes of BLUEBIRD -- and I hope those scenes will spark among children a discussion about friendship, loyalty, loss, compassion, and so much more."

Staake says that as a child he would pick out books for their pictures, and then, without reading any of the text, would make up his own story. Since there is no text to start with, this book would be a perfect one to use in a similar exercise with classes. Children could interpret the artwork in BLUEBIRD in their own voice and write the story.

Staake's illustrations fit in with a trend I have seen lately -- most of the illustration is done in shades of gray/brown, with pops of color used to highlight important things. Other illustrators who have done this are Loren Long, Mark Pett, Jon Klassen, and Peter Brown. ( )
  stephanie.croaning | Sep 28, 2014 |
Bluebird is about a young boy who is lonely and obviously teased, or bullied by his peers, who realizes one day that a bluebird is following him around. The boy and the bluebird spend a whole day together, doing various activities around the town. At the end the boy and the bird encounter the bullies from the boys school. One of the bullies throws a stick ,trying to hurt the boy, and the bird gets in the way and gives his life for the boy. This book, even with no words has a powerful message. First, the effects that bullying can have on young kids. Secondly it gives a chance to talk to kids about death, and loss, and the feelings that go along with it. This book is amazing, and has a beautiful story of friendship.
  KayleighAdamsRossi | Jun 30, 2014 |
This is a story that would be helpful when discussing how bullying and teasing effects someone. The book has a theme of letting go and loss as well but is well presented. I think lower and upper elementary students would enjoy it.
  charlottestudent | Jun 8, 2014 |
Oh my. I am left with a lump in my throat and tears in my eye. This wordless picture book is a stunner. Please share with children that you care about, because it is emotional and deeply, deeply moving. ( )
  Mad.River.Librarian | Apr 23, 2014 |
A boy who is lonely, bullied, depressed. Walking home one day he realizes he's being followed by a little blue bird. The only color in an otherwise bleak grey scaled world the boy lives in. The little blue bird continues to follow him. They head to the park to play wiith a boat on the pond, on the way home they run into some bullies and there is an accident. This book would make an excellent intro into a discussion on bullying and how it makes people feel.
  stacy3176 | Mar 15, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375870377, Hardcover)

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. 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:45:34 -0400)

A wordless picture book about the inspiring friendship that develops between a bluebird and a young boy.

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