'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 1 November 2020

Review: How to Make a Bird

Have you ever wanted to build something? Taken all the pieces of that thing you wanted to make and put them lovingly together? 

It’s hard work, and it doesn’t always work out how you want it to. But that’s part of being a creator.

How to Make a Bird is a wow picture book. It gives you tingles as you read it. It’s one of those picture books that speaks to people in different ways but leaves an impression no matter the audience. 

In How to Make a Bird, a young girl collects all the things she needs to make a bird: bones, feathers, shells and string. 

She puts the pieces together and gives the bird a heart, but it remains still and silent. It’s not the bird she was intending to make. 

But she isn't discouraged. Maybe the bird just need a little something else to give it life. The girl takes her bird and hold it in the air. She lets it see the world, and she's there, ready… for whatever happens next.

How to Make a Bird explores the glory and challenges — the ups and downs — of creativity. Making things is hard. Making them right is harder, and sometimes it’s hard to know when they are done. 

How do you know? 

How do you know what you’re doing? 

How do you make a bird?

This is a brilliant picture book from two picture book masters. Meg McKinlay takes us into the world of a young creator as she carefully, meticulously builds her bird. Slow and careful and with so much love.

Matt Ottley’s interpretation of the girl and her bird is glorious. His illustrations are detailed and artistic, filled with beautiful angles, intricate shadows and sky blues that are hauntingly accurate. 

How to Make a Bird is about imagination, hope and never giving up, even when you are unsure of where your journey will take you. It will speak to all creators of the world and inspire kids to always keep creating.

If you love a picture book that speaks to your soul and leaves thoughts and images in your head long after you close the cover, I highly recommend How to Make a Bird.

For more books by Meg, check out Catch a Falling Star, Duck!, Let me Sleep, Sheep! and Drawn Onward. For more from Matt, check out Parachute

Title: How to Make a Bird
Author: Meg McKinlay
Illustrator: Matt Ottley
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.99
Publication Date: 20 October 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925381894
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book