The Quiet Bird
by Morey Johnson
Trafford Publishing

"For the first time since she realized he would never be able to sing, she was happy for him."

Andy is a robin who is born with a disability: He cannot sing. Unlike his three siblings, he can't make a sound. But also unlike them, he has a very unusual ability: he can fly, at a younger age and far higher than the others. His mother Ophelia exclaims, after seeing his demonstration of flight, "No robin or any other bird has flown as high as you!" His father Reginald, at first skeptical, is also impressed and convinced by Andy's gift of flight and height. Though unable to chirp, Andy communicates effectively with wing gestures; as he indicates to his mother, "I don't feel sad. I feel special because everyone can sing, but no one can fly like I can."

Children's author Johnson says he wrote The Quiet Bird after observing his wife's work with handicapped children. Astute parents and sensitive older children will quickly recognize the story as a metaphor of a "special needs bird" who has as much to offer as any other fledgling. Andy the robin child has a weakness, but has been compensated with a unique strength that will bring him positive attention, even fame. There will be satisfying "teachable moments" that accompany the reading of this short book with its pleasant, simple, richly colorful pictures. A plain but positive bedtime story, The Quiet Bird may provoke useful discussion and answer some questions that arise among young readers about the purposes that each of us can serve with our special talents.

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