Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review - "Bee & Bird"

I'll admit to sometimes being on the fence when it comes to wordless picture books. Some are fantastic stories unto themselves, like Jerry Pinkey's The Lion and the Mouse and Jeff Newman's The Boys. Others can require so much reader input they're almost not worth the trouble, unless ridiculously beautiful. Still others are of a brand that is not quite fully storytelling, not quite fully concept book. Laura Vaccaro Seeger's books, like First the Egg, would fall into this category. There's a thin story, bolstered by a come-along-and-play type attitude to the narration. A new book, Bee & Bird, from Craig Frazier is another title that would fall into this third category (and in fact, Seeger blurbs the book on the inside jacket cover).
Bee & Bird begins with a close-up of the stripes of a bee, which then backs out into a shot of the bee on a red background, which then backs out into a shot our bee resting on our red bird's head (and so forth). The story unfolds in such pull back reveals and shifts of perspective as we follow our titular pair over fields and water and finally back to the beehive. The art is bright and crisp, and has a note of humor to it. A shot of our heroes looking straight forward made me smile, though I couldn't say exactly why. The progression of images is both logical and surprising in some ways and the cumulative effect is very pleasing. I wouldn't say that author/illustrator Frazier has reached the delightful heights of one of Ms. Seeger's volumes, but Bee & Bird is a definite step in the right direction.
Bee & Bird by Craig Frazier
2011, Roaring Book Press
Final copy provided by publisher

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