rumination on what it is to be kind, compassionate, aware of others, and to
share. We know it’s cold out, but we are warmed by this story.
A little girl,
Ella, who has spent her saved up coins on a toasty warm scarf in the thick of
the New York winter, sits at a table waiting for her father to bring her lunch
from a nearby kiosk.
As she waits, she becomes aware of two beings who are
hungry: a one-legged bird, who sits on the chair back opposite her; and a man
with his life in a bag on his back, who sits on a stoop across the way.
Little Ella is mesmerised when the man, whose requests for help from all who
pass by do not seem to amount to much, pulls a crumpled paper bag out of his
backpack. And she’s positively agog when he tips the crumbs into his hand to feed
the hungry little bird.
Ella and her father
say hello to the man and they all share lunch at the table, together. As they
do so, the bird hops over to eat their shared crumbs.
The digital illustrations
are really delightful, displaying as they do the cheerful colour and facial
expressions of Ella, her father and the stranger, with clarity and tenderness.
These sit alongside the clever use of muted colour around the edges of each double
spread opening, which serve to depict the bleak coldness of winter. I think
though, that my favourite illustrations are of the little bird, which is
rendered in simple brush strokes and a limited colour palette.
This is a very
sweet and poignant, uplifting book that reminds us of the value of kindness.
A captivating story with a strong and endearing message for all.
Author: Phil Cummings
Illustrator: Shane DeVries
Publisher: Scholastic, $24.99
Publication Date: February 2022
For ages: 2 – 6
Type: Picture Book