The Woman Who Turned ­Children into Birds

Candlewick. Oct. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536219968.
Gr 1-3–Nanty Solo is an old woman with a funny name and a peculiar magical ability: she turns children into birds. She doesn’t turn them into the bird they want to be, but the bird she believes they truly are. And they always return to their human forms. The other adults in the town think she’s weird or dangerous, and eventually convince her to leave town. Almond’s lilting, offbeat story is in keeping with his other books, which often have magic and children who are different. This one serves as an allegory for society’s fear of someone who encourages others to be themselves instead of conforming. Carlin’s dreamy artwork uses colored pencils to create vivid scenes of children in flight, scenes that may have some parents wondering, perhaps, what are they missing? The contrast between the drab city and the colorful feathered friends is striking.
VERDICT Purchase wherever Almond’s work is in demand.

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