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Albert by Donna Jo Napoli
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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 |
Summary - Albert never seems to find the weather or the outside noises agreeable, but when a cardinal mistakes his arm for a branch, Albert learns to appreciate the world around him.
Genre - Realistic Fiction
Media - Colored pencil on Arches watercolor paper. ( )
  Heather618 | Nov 19, 2011 |
Media: Pastel/pencil drawings

Genre: Fantasy ( )
  hannahmunger | Nov 11, 2011 |
Genre: Realistic Fiction

This book was a good example of realistic fiction because the story is about a man named Albert who sticks his arm out his window and a pair of cardinal's build their nest in his hand to have their eggs. Albert stands this way for a couple weeks, with one arm out the window. He befriends the birds and slowly starts to understand more of the world outside of his apartment. This story is possible in our world, but isn't completely plausible. It is easy to follow along with the author's plot. People don't have birds nests made in their hands, but they can become 'friends' with birds and learn more about their surroundings by new and various changes in their everyday life.

Critique: Characterization ( )
  born1990 | Nov 10, 2010 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:20 -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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