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

Friday 5 May 2023

Review: The Bowerbird - The Small Bird With The Large Heart

Meet Bert, a scruffy little ragamuffin bowerbird who somehow manages to elicit pure, unbridled joy from our hearts – even through the heartbreak of his search for love. 

Brought to us by the award-and-heart-winning team of Julia Donaldson and Catherine Rayner, this book is indeed irresistible.

Bert has built himself the perfect home in the form of a bower. He places a purple flower lovingly outside his front door and waits. Soon, a female bird called Nanette passes by.

'Dear Nanette,' the bowerbird said,

'You’re just the bird I’d love to wed.

Do you like my purple flower?
Will you come inside my bower?'

The hypnotic and rather gorgeous Nanette shows a slight interest in Bert, but insists that a purple flower is not enough. She demands more, and so Bert nurses his hurt feelings and goes in search of further treasures from the garden.

Nanette is no pushover and the story pulls no punches! But is Nanette the right bird for Bert?

The divine illustrations show us Bert’s sweetness and strength, which shine through the hope and disappointment of each encounter with Nanette. When he is finally tricked out of his bower, our Bert finds himself truly alone.

And then, a little bit of wonderful magic happens…

The seamless and endearing rhyme of this book somehow serves to make us love Bert all the more. And the inclusion of items such as an old caramel wrapper and rusty zip in his cache of treasures, gives us wonderful and satisfying words to wrap our mouths around as we read aloud.

The illustrations are stunning - emotive, funny and completely endearing. I don’t know quite how a bowerbird is made to look variously like a stooped old man, a playful puppy and a loved-up bowerbird, but somehow, this one is! Bert is earnest, interesting, scruffy and totally dependable. I want to pick him up and hear him sing and watch him build a hundred bowers.
Such a beautiful and timeless story, with so many layers of meaning, wholesomeness and hope.

Sheer delight.

The Bowerbird – The Small Bird With The Large Heart
Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Catherine Rayner
Publisher: MacMillan $26.99
Publication Date: March 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781529092240
For ages: 3 - 5
Type: Picture Book