Today I read Mocking Birdies, a picture book by Annette Simon. This is a fun and colorful book, published in November, 2005 by Simply Read Books. It's a simple story about two birds who keep copying each other, in a ridiculous and circular argument. One bird is red, and the other bird is blue, and the text of each bird's words is also in red or blue. Eventually, the two birds decide to sing together, instead of fighting with one another, and the text of their combined words is colored purple (get it? Red and blue together make purple). There is a nice page where the red and blue words are shown gradually overlapping one another, to make this very clear.
What sets this book apart, to me, is not the story of the birds copying each other, and learning to get along (though I think that kids, especially bickering siblings, will find it funny). No, what sets this book apart are the boldly colored illustrations of the birds, and a big yellow sun. I especially love one page that shows the oversized faces of the two birds, challenging one another beak to beak, with no words at all. Ms. Simon's ability to capture the personalities of these two birds, in simple, geometric illustrations, is amazing to me.
I also think that the colored fonts, especially when they merge to make purple, make this an excellent book for children just learning to read. The words themselves are a vibrant part of the story. And isn't fun with words what it's all about? I think that this book would make an excellent addition to any child's library. And if you have twins, well, then you should certainly buy it.
Incidentally, the mockingbird is the state bird of both Texas and Florida, the two states that Annette Simon and her family have lived in most recently. Maybe that's where the big yellow sun in the books comes from, too.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.