Saturday, March 28, 2009


McDonnell, P. (2008). South. New York: Little, Brown and Company.


With an initial plot similar to the movie Home Alone, one little birdie sleeps in and is left behind when his flock flies south for the winter. A friendly cat guides the little bird in the right direction to be reunited with the other birds.

This almost wordless picturebook (there is a little weeping), uses a few neutral colors to show the transition of colors between fall and winter. While children will immediately sympathize with the bird and the experience of being lost, what was most endearing for me was that the cat takes the bird by the wing and guides it with her paw (think holding hands, animal style). Added to this, part of their journey takes them into a human city and both the bird and cat seem small and childlike, perhaps sending the message that children can help children.

Activities to do with the book:

This book can trigger a discussion of the experience of being lost with young children. A teacher or parent could make suggestions of who a young person can approach if they find themselves lost or left behind.

To go another direction, a teacher could also discuss the seasons and their influence upon birds and other animals.

If a classroom pairs with a class of older students, this book could be used to help introduce the mentor-mentee relationship.

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