Written and Illustrated by Bob Staake
Schwartz & Wade Books, c2013. Unpaged picture book.
Bob Staake's Bluebird is a wordless picture book that speaks volumes with its digitally-rendered illustrations and varying shades of blue, gray, white, and black. A young boy walks through the streets of New York City, lonely and always an outsider. A sweet bluebird follows him throughout the day, and becomes a bright little playmate for the boy. Together, they share a cookie, play hide and seek, and race small sailboats. The story turns dark when the boy and his bird walk through a dark park and find themselves in the middle of a pack of bullies. The poor bird falls victim to their cruel treatment, and in the end is carried into the heavens by a group of birds in rainbow colors. Discussion about Bluebird can take off in many directions- about friendship and kindness, life and death, even nature and cities. I am rooting for Mr. Staake to win a Caldecott for what I think is his best work yet. In a fitting and touching tribute, this masterpiece is dedicated to John James Audubon.