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Albert by Donna Jo Napoli


by Donna Jo Napoli, Jim LaMarche (Illustrator)

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The reader doesn't know the history of Albert and why he doesn't come outside and interact with people on a daily basis. But, we do know that Albert wants to know the weather conditions, and thus every day, he sticks his hand out the window.

One day, a lovely cardinal drops a twig in Albert's hand. Then, more twigs are nestled in the palm of Albert's hand, and magically, he begins to interact with more than himself. Carefully watching as the bird lays eggs, Albert continues to hold his hand out the window.

This interaction and his desire to assist, lead him to venture out into his surrounding world.

This is a marvelous story with incredible illustrations of LaMarche, who is fast becoming one of my favorite illustrators.
  Whisper1 | May 5, 2016 |
this a great book for children
  ednaj | Mar 20, 2016 |
This modern fantasy book tells about a man named Albert. Every morning, Albert sticks his hand outside the window to see what the weather is like. In doing this, he determines whether or not he should go on a walk. The weather is normally very bad, so he never goes for a walk. One day, Albert sticks his hand out the window and a bird drops a twig into his hand, and after a minute or so of these birds dropping twigs into his hand, a nest is built. The momma bird lays three eggs into Albert's hands. Albert doesn't want to disturb these baby birds so he stands holding the nest for weeks until the eggs are hatched. Albert builds a relationship with these birds and they teach him that there is something good in everyday so there is no need to stay inside. Once all of the birds grew up, Albert brought his hand back into the window, and started to take walks every single day. ( )
  amassingale | Apr 21, 2015 |
A retiring young man named Albert manages to avoid the outside world in this debut picture-book from noted children's author Donna Jo Napoli, until an unexpected encounter with a cardinal couple forces him to consider what it is he's missing. Holding his hand out the window grillwork every day, to test the weather, the eponymous Albert always elects to stay indoors. Then one day, while performing this ritual, a cardinal alights upon his hand and, together with his mate, proceeds to build a nest. Our gentle hero, unwilling to destroy the nest, stands for twelve days as the eggs are laid and then hatched, witnessing many of the beauties of the outside world. When the avian drama is concluded, Albert makes the momentous decision to venture out...

I have to confess that the adult reader in me had a little trouble with the suspension of disbelief with this one - this doesn't often happen, as I am usually able to enter into the spirit of a given book, and appreciate it on its own level - and I kept thinking: doesn't Albert need to work, like all his neighbors? how does he survive for twelve days, even if the cardinal feeds him berries? what about water? Still, I liked the idea of Albert - that we need to take the time to really look at the world around us, in order to fully appreciate it, and that sometimes knowledge can help us conquer fear - and I thought the artwork, done by Jim LaMarche, was lovely. I don't know that children will have the same reservations about the story, that I did, so I recommend this one to children who are timid, and/or afraid of the outside world. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 17, 2013 |
I thought this was a really sweet book, and I absolutely love the pictures! I wondered where the book would go after the nest was in his hand. I laughed when Albert peeped at the bird and it tried to feed him a beetle and then a berry. And I thought the last illustration of Albert "flying" on a swing was really sweet and something I remember doing as a child.
  BKPietz | Nov 25, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Donna Jo Napoliprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
LaMarche, JimIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0152052496, Paperback)

Every day Albert sticks his hand out the window of his apartment to check the weather. Every day he decides it's too cold, too hot, too wet, too breezy, and goes back to sitting at his table, drinking tomato juice, doing card tricks, or listening to baseball games on the radio. Until one day when he works his hand out through the grillwork over his window--plop! A cardinal drops a twig in his palm. Before he knows it, Albert is stranded, holding a brand new nest in his hand. The days go by, eggs are laid, the papa cardinal starts feeding berries to Albert, and, inevitably, chicks hatch. Meanwhile, Albert is slowly developing a different take on life. His previously protected world opens up as he witnesses the highs and lows of nature's course.

In this odd little story, award-winning young adult novelist Donna Jo Napoli (Zel, Spinners, etc.) takes her first stab at writing a picture book. It's quirky, it's whimsical... It's a little perplexing. The moral, apparently, is that we need to seize life by the lapels, take the good with the bad, not hide our heads underground. But this message may apply more strongly to adults, especially as the protagonist himself is a young man. Still, children will love the idea of a bird building its nest in someone's hand. With colored pencils, Jim LaMarche creates luminous full-page illustrations with charming details and intriguing angles. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

One day when Albert is at his window, two cardinals come to build a nest in his hand, an event that changes his life.

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