Owlkids. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771473705.
K-Gr 2–Barnaby the budgie loves living in a “falling-down house on the edge of a park” where his owner, “a kind lady,” wearing red glasses feeds him sunflower seeds and pieces of sweet mango. One day, the lady returns from work with a fluffy yellow bird in a second cage, and Barnaby does not like the newcomer on sight. Angry, Barnaby acts out and then runs away via an open window. While searching for home he learns about the wonders in the world outside, and about other birds, who welcome him. Barnaby returns to the falling-down house but then leaves again, this time to find a fat berry as a gift for the yellow bird. The disjointed story is told in a tiny rustic font that stands out on each page. Text and pictures mostly work in tandem, but the house is not falling down at all—it’s a sweet cottage. The softened scenes in a rich palette show what Barnaby is feeling and seeing as he experiences his world growing.
VERDICT One budgie’s emotional growth after leaving home will ring familiar to young children, but there are other titles on independence that handle the topic more directly, and without the visual disconnect.

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