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My Dad's a Birdman
Contributor(s): Almond, David, Dunbar, Polly (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0763636673     ISBN-13: 9780763636678
Publisher: Candlewick Pr
    OUR PRICE: $14.40  
Product Type: School And Library - Other Formats
Published: February 2008
Qty:
Temporarily out of stock - Will ship within 2 to 5 weeks
Annotation: In a northern English town, Lizzie, despite her own grief over the death of her mother, tries to distract her grief-stricken father by helping him enter and prepare for the Great Human Bird Competition.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Grief; Fiction.
Fathers and daughters; Fiction.
Single-parent families; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Death & Dying
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Depression & Mental Illness
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2007933432
Lexile Measure: 420
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 3-4, Age 8-9
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 6.25" W x 0.75" (0.90 lbs) 115 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 120556
Reading Level: 3.0   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 2.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q43214
Reading Level: 2.4   Interest Level: Grades 3-5   Point Value: 5.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): vid Almond, whose many awards include a Carnegie Medal and a Michael L. Printz Award, is known worldwide as the author of SKELLIG, KIT'S WILDERNESS, HEAVEN EYES, THE FIRE EATERS, and many other books and plays. Of MY DAD'S A BIRDMAN, his first novel for younger readers, he says, "Birds have always been a big influence. It’s something to do with the urge to transcend our earthbound state, to sing, to be free. There is darkness in the story, of course, but I think I found a way to make a joyful piece about grieving, about how love can help us overcome pain, and about how the imagination can work profound changes." He lives in Northumberland, England.

Polly Dunbar is the author-illustrator of DOG BLUE, FLYAWAY KATIE, and PENGUIN, and the illustrator of SHOE BABY by Joyce Dunbar and HERE'S A LITTLE POEM by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. She lives in Brighton, England.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall)
This novel began life as a play, and its dramatic origins glimmer in the musicality of Almond's prose, his screwball-comedy pacing, and his interest in costume and performance. Lizzie, whose mam (we infer) has died, hesitates to leave her dad alone since he has taken to eating "bugs, flies and centipedes" and claims he is going to fly. She stays home from school, and together they construct gorgeous wings, build a nest in the kitchen, and fend off Auntie Doreen, whose signature dumplings are as drawn to the earth as Lizzie and her dad are drawn to the air. When the two compete in the Great Human Bird Competition (propelled by "wings and faith and hope and...dare I say it?...love!"), they share an ecstatic moment of joyous laughter. Even Auntie Doreen's feet leave the ground at last in a festive dance. Themes of the connections between flying and the human spirit, grief and celebration, first seen in Skellig (rev. 5/99), recur in this sharp, poetic story that recalls the inspired lunacy of Joan Aiken and, in Dunbar's illustrations, Quentin Blake. Almond flies where make-believe and madness converge, where imagination tends toward delusion, offering a stylized treatment of grief that expresses sorrow obliquely. The energy and color of his language -- "the blithering boops. The nits, the ninnies, the nincompoopy noodleheads!" -- and the surrealism of his imagery give this strange little tale a haunting brilliance. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #3)
This novel began life as a play, and its dramatic origins glimmer in the musicality of Almond's prose, his screwball-comedy pacing, and his interest in costume and performance. Lizzie, whose mam (we infer) has died, hesitates to leave her dad alone since he has taken to eating "bugs, flies and centipedes" and claims he is going to fly. She stays home from school, and together they construct gorgeous wings, build a nest in the kitchen, and fend off Auntie Doreen, whose signature dumplings are as drawn to the earth as Lizzie and her dad are drawn to the air. When the two compete in the Great Human Bird Competition (propelled by "wings and faith and hope and...dare I say it?...love!"), they share an ecstatic moment of joyous laughter. Even Auntie Doreen's feet leave the ground at last in a festive dance. Themes of the connections between flying and the human spirit, grief and celebration, first seen in Skellig (rev. 5/99), recur in this sharp, poetic story that recalls the inspired lunacy of Joan Aiken and, in Dunbar's illustrations, Quentin Blake. Almond flies where make-believe and madness converge, where imagination tends toward delusion, offering a stylized treatment of grief that expresses sorrow obliquely. The energy and color of his language -- "the blithering boops. The nits, the ninnies, the nincompoopy noodleheads!" -- and the surrealism of his imagery give this strange little tale a haunting brilliance. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2008 May)

Gr 1–4— A distinguished author's use of birds and human flight as metaphors for love's transcendence over grief and death takes a new form in this comic piece of magical realism. Lizzie and her widowed dad live in a city along the river Tyne in the north of England. From the first page it is clear that Lizzie is playing parent to her father's irresponsible child. Both are reacting to the recent death of Lizzie's mother. While the girl works hard at school, Dad remains in his room, unshaven and undressed. Finding purpose in the recently announced Great Human Bird Competition ("the first one to fly over the river Tyne wins a thousand pounds"), he secretly constructs a pair of wings from bird feathers and starts to consume bugs and worms. Sensible Auntie Doreen, as solid as her dumplings, calls him "daft." But when she tries to take Lizzie away from him, the child does her realistic best to make her father's dreams come true. Handsomely produced, the book is printed in varying size typefaces and enhanced by Dunbar's pencil, watercolor, and collage illustrations interspersed throughout the text. Casual yet evocative, they perfectly interpret Almond's broadly sketched characters. A fine read-aloud.—Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams

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