CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 32. . . April 28, 2017
This thought-provoking picture book follows the journey of a lonely, empty cage. The reader first meets the cage in an attic surrounded by other discarded household items. Feeling useless and unwanted, the cage sets out on an adventure to find its purpose. The journey is difficult for the cage as it rocks itself up to the attic window to jump to freedom and with great effort heaves itself up hills and rolls down again.
The determined cage is looking for a bird to house, to partner with, to befriend. The cage meets several birds along the way, but it seems that none need what it has to offer. They have the freedom that they desire, enough food, and nestlings to care for. As the day comes to an end and night arrives, the cage is feeling lonelier than ever and misses his old friends in the attic.
Soon enough a miserable little bird comes upon the lonesome cage. He, too, has lost his purpose as he was turned out by his master who no longer wanted him. The two are meant to complete each other’s quest.
The foundation of this story is based upon an aphorism by Franz Kafka and follows the threads of belonging and purpose to reveal its message of new friendship. Further discussions with children can explore how friendships develop, how friends support each other, and how we each have unique gifts to share.
The illustrations of Banafsheh Erfanian complement Cary Fagan’s thoughtful writing with vibrant colours that, on many of the pages, resemble an intricately woven tapestry. The combination of the writing and the illustration offers a somewhat melancholy atmosphere that embraces the reader with the fulfilment of dreams.
Tamara Opar is Section Head of Children’s and Teen Services at Millennium Library in Winnipeg, MB.
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