________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 40 . . . . June 23, 2017


Bill Bowerbird and the Unbearable Beak-Ache.

Tyler Clark Burke.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-154-1.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-8.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

** /4



Bill Bowerbird is a very special bird.

That he certainly seems to be, looking more like a cross between a mole and some kind of boring insect than a bird, and wearing a jaunty triangular orange hat that appears to hover above his head.

      A nagging beak-ache has him canvassing his friends for a cure. One by one, the owl, the zebras, the walrus and a pair of friendly beavers (among others) offer advice, some of it concrete such as a spoonful of honey or a frozen carrot, at the end an activity that takes his mind off the pain. However with all the ideas he has been presented with, none of them seem to have worked.

So Bill stumbled home and laid out his stuff…then SUDDENLY
realized he wasn't feeling so rough.
He opened his beak and looked right inside…
turns out a tooth had come along for a ride.

      I interpret the last sentence as describing teething pains that have finally been relieved by the breakthrough of a tooth, although I am not positive that that is what has actually happened.

      In the end, all those who have tried to help Bill are assembled for a party, after which everyone is packed off for a good night's sleep.

      The colourful illustrations are the high point of the book, with swathes of variegated red, blue and green filling the pages. The zebras even have multi-coloured stripes. Bill's sturdy black image is central to every spread.

      A rhyming text scans well but does not always completely make sense. For example, in introducing Bill, the author has written:

He has a felt cap and blue boots,
a rooster's comb, a copper flute,
a lion's pride for loot and trash.
a broken bike, a runway sash.

      I thought a lion's pride was the name for a group of lions, not a container; and there is no explanation for the meaning of "a runway sash".

      This is not a highly original plot either, although solving a problem after a sequence of events or encounters usually works well in a library or kindergarten story time.

      Tyler Clark Burke is described on the jacket as "an artist, writer and freelance brainstormer". Bill Bowerbird and the Unbearable Beak-Ache is her first picture book, so there may be better efforts to come.

Recommended with Reservations.

Ellen Heaney is a retired children's librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue - June 23, 2017.

CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive