Book of the Week: A Home for Bird

A Home For Bird by Philip C. Stead

Published: 2012 by Roaring Brook Press

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

Even though I’m not huge fan of birds in real life, I do think they make great characters.

Bird isn’t your typical bird. He’s a Cuckoo bird! Yes, one that lives in a Cuckoo clock.

I like cuckoo clocks, even though many people find them annoying.

The fact that one of the main characters is a cuckoo clock bird makes me love the unique-ness of this book.

The other main character is a small frog named Vernon.

Vernon is a perfect name for a frog. And he likes to forage for interesting items like, soda caps, a pink yo-yo, and a battered baseball.

Vernon is very considerate, and very caring. He knows that Bird is lost, and possibly home sick since he’s so quiet, and vows to help him find his way home.

Vernon has many friends, among them are Skunk and Porcupine.

The yo-yo’s rope gets tangled in Porcupine’s quills.

Vernon shows Bird all the things he loves to do: sitting quietly by the river, collecting acorns in the forest, and even cloud watching.

Bird said nothing during their outing.

Vernon’s a little worry-wart.

Sad that Bird is sad, Vernon decides to take action to make his new friend happy. He decides to travel alongside bird to find his home.

This is an adventure book!

Vernon prepares a boat and an oar – a tea cup with a straw and plaid napkin for the said, and a spook for the oar.

Vernon is one smart frog!

They say goodbye and set said. Together Bird and Vernon try different homes.

From mailboxes to birdcages to bird feeders. But Bird’s silent all the way.

Vernon will not settle until Bird chirps his happiness.

I love how, when trying out a mailbox for a home, Vernon has to stand atop of a pink flamingo to see inside.

The two traveling companions meet many new friends.

A big red balloon helps them along on their journey to find a home.

Sailing high above the clouds they finally come upon a quaint farm house in the hopes of resting for the night.

It’s there, in the farm house’s kitchen that Bird finds a home – in his own Cuckoo Clock!

Vernon knows Bird loves his home because he finally speaks. Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo!

Vernon is happy because Bird is happy.

Vernon is a great friend.

I love how this book really drives the “there’s no place like home” sentiment home.

I love how this book also shows that friends can be friends no matter who or what they are.

I love the artwork that fills this book. It’s both playful and sophisticated.

The writing is strong, and the story is a really sweet, tender story.

The Believing Game

The Believing Game by Eirann Corrigan (received ARC – Advanced Readers Copy – for review)

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Greer Cannon is a chronic shoplifter. She’s out of control, and quite frankly doesn’t give a damn. But when she get’s caught lifting items from a local store, her parents are fed up, not only with her disgraceful behavior, but with her. So much so, that they do the one thing Greer doesn’t see coming: ship her off to a reform school.

MacCracken HIll isn’t so much a reform school as it is a rehabilitation school for misfits and screw ups. It’s a place where wealthy family can sweep their problems under the reform school rug. It’s a place where screwed up teens can make good and rid themselves of their vicious vices: drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, violent behavior, teen pregnancy, etc..

Not really caring about MacCraken Hill or it’s misfit residents, Greer resigns herself to simply get through. She has no plans or intentions to get caught up in the therapeutic lingo and or her fellow MacCraken students.

That is, until the day Addison Bradley saunters into her English class and changes everything.

Addison Bradley is the kind of guy that girls and grown women fawn and fall all over. He’s definitely caught Greer’s attention, but guys like that simply don’t notice Greer. But Addison is obviously different, and within a few weeks they are officially an item.

For Greer, things are perfect. At least until she meets Joshua – Addison’s much older mentor. Greer wants to like him – trust him even – as much as Addison does, but she just can’t.

There’s something off about Joshua. Something to leaves Greer feeling both uncomfortable and suspicious. As time moves on, and she begins to spend more and more time with both Addison and Joshua, she quickly realizes that she doesn’t trust Joshua at all.

More and more Greer is starting to see that Joshua is a manipulative user whose main goal is life is to control unsuspecting teens.

Greer’s too smart to fall for his lies. Or is she?

The Believing Game written by author Eireanne Corrigan is a realistic thriller that will keep reader’s guessing. Surrounded by an aire of mystery, reader’s will find themselves asking a number of questions – who is Joshua Stern really? What are his motives and why?

But Corrigan’s writing, though solid, doesn’t lend any answers to any of theses questions. She paints a vivid picture of the people and the places that all apart of Greer’s life. However, her plot line isn’t so vivid. As a reader I found myself stumbling over plot holes, mainly because of those unanswered questions.

Corrigan’s characters, though realistic, are difficult to relate to. None of them, main characters Greer, Addison, and Joshua included, are easy to sympathize with. Greer seems to flop around. At the opening she immediately appears to be a strong leading lady, in both character and of mind. But by the end Greer is revealed to be a character dependent on the males around her, Addison specifically.

At first The Believing Game seemed like my kind of book. It’s a straight up thriller with a deranged cult leader that caught my attention from the start. I mean, what’s not to love about it?!? But after reading, and really letting the book as a whole sink in, I found out there were too many flaws for me to really enjoy the book. I really wanted to love this book. Why? Because Corrigan’s writing is solid, because she presents a unique story that hasn’t appeared in contemporary books, because she makes readers what to read.

Even though this was not the book for me, I’m positive there’s a definite readership for this book. And I’m positive that many readers will love this book.