Reviews /

The Stone Bird

Authored by Jenny McCartney
Illustrated by Patrick Benson
Published by Andersen Press

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The Stone Bird is a beautiful story by Jenny McCartney about a girl’s belief and love. The pictures are warm, and probably familiar to most as the illustrator Patrick Benson has given us many familiar characters including Owl Babies and the Snow Leopard. The story is comforting, with a satisfying ending. It offers a contrast to many of the loud, exciting rhyming picture books that are often the mainstay of children’s storytimes. It could become a firm favourite for perhaps a quieter child who is a nature lover and could identify with the character.

Eliza finds a stone on the beach and is convinced it is an egg, but her mother laughs and explains it is too heavy. Eliza takes the stone ‘egg’ home and keeps it on her bedside table. Before bedtime, she notices the egg has become very warm, and when she wakes up the next morning, her egg has changed into a bird. Mother still doesn’t believe Eliza, but Eliza carries her ‘bird’ everywhere, even making it a nest from a pair of socks.

The Stone Bird would be a lovely bedtime story for the right child. This could also be a great read-aloud story for an infant class – but I think the teacher would need to pick the right moment to read it: when the children are in a calm, patient mood to appreciate the way this story gently unfolds.