Monday, February 16, 2009
Review #16: How to Paint the Portrait of a Bird
Dad: Today's review is for "How to Paint the Portrait of a Bird."
Isaac (age 10): I had a feeling it would be about a bird.
Dad: Did the book tell you how to paint the portrait of a bird?
Dad: But that's what the book is called. Well... DID it tell you how to paint the portrait of a bird?
Isaac: It did. But not the real way.
Gracie (age 8): This way is more fun.
Lily (age 5): It was about a bird and a boy and, well, the bird got into a picture. The boy painted all the stuff besides the bird.
Gracie: The cage... The tree...
Lily: And the bird flew inside the paint.
Dad: So, the boy paints a picture of a cage with an open door, a bird flies into the cage, he erases the door, and... ta-da! The portrait of a bird.
Isaac: But you have to wait for years and years behind a tree, hiding...
Gracie: With no food.
Isaac: ...waiting for a bird to fly into the picture, and you don't even know for sure if it's going to come or not.
Gracie: The boy imagines he might be waiting there until he's an old man with a beard and super long grass all around him and cobwebs on his head!
Lily: It could have been really funny if the bird had a beard too!
Gracie: "I'm an old man with cobwebs on my head!"
Lily: I think the boy was trying to keep a pet. Maybe he was trying to get the bird to stay in his picture and be his pet. And then he tried to make it sing, and it sang!
Gracie: It was funny when the bird was singing, because it was
like: "TWEET!" Ye-haw, baby!
Isaac: The page is all full of music notes.
Lily: Tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet!
Dad: Did anyone feel sad for the bird when it flew into the painting? I did.
Lily: Me too. But then it got free.
Gracie: Then I didn't feel sad.
Lily: Me either!
Dad: Would it be worth it? Waiting that long to paint the portrait of a bird?
Isaac: Then only keep it for, like, a day!
Lily: And the next morning the boy had to do it all over again.
Gracie: That would be hard.
Isaac: He stayed there for a YEAR. Behind a tree. Hiding. Waiting for a bird. And then he has to do it for another year to catch another bird!
Dad: Yeah, you guys seemed pretty freaked out over the realization that if the boy wanted to keep a portrait of a bird, he would have to go through the whole process again when the bird flies out...
Isaac: That would be frustrating. You would just do it over again. Then over. And over and over and over and over.
Dad: (opening to a spread) Now, you all really liked this page didn't you...
Isaac: OH yeah!
Gracie: It's so full of color! And it's beautiful.
Gracie: The sun has tons of color shining out of it.
Isaac: I like how he made the butterflies...
Gracie: The butterflies are so pretty.
Lily: I want a summer like that in our front yard!
Dad: When the boy signs his name he writes: Mordicai Gerstein. Do you know who Mordicai Gerstein is?
Isaac: No. Is it the guy who made the book?
Dad: Yep. So the illustrator imagined himself as a character in the book.
Gracie: Once Mr. Murphy put me in a story he told about a big red monster who lost his blankie.
Dad: How about Isaac?
Gracie: I know! He's in that book Mr. Sandford made of the guy who cooks...
Dad: To get Isaac in that book, first Mr. Sandford had to paint a cage... then he had to wait for Isaac to crawl into the cage...
Gracie: Ha ha ha ha...
Isaac: No. I had to pose for an hour...
Dad: So when we make our pictures at the end of this Bookie Woogie, are we going to have to paint cages and run outside to look for birds to fly into them?
Isaac: That would be strange.
Gracie: That would be cool!
Dad: We might have to wait until Gracie is old and has a beard.
Dad: Um, you just whacked me.
Gracie: I don't grow beards... You have a beard!
Dad: Final verdict - how was this book?
Isaac: Love it! Good! Great! All of those combined into a little ball of birdies!
Hysterical laughter by all
Dad: Sooooo... I'll take that as a thumbs up?
Author: Jacques Prevert
Illustrator: Mordicai Gerstein
Published, 2007: Roaring Brook Press
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