Children’s Book Week Review – Liarbird
Liarbird by Laura + Philip Bunting
This book was part of the Notable list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Picture Book of the Year.
Liarbirds learn to lie from the day they hatch. They are the best in the bush at fibbing, faking, fabricating and fake-news creating. Until one lyrebird decides to go straight, and discovers that sometimes even the truth hurts.
Put your hand up if you’ve ever told a lie…
_.-._ | | | |_ | | | | | | | | | | _ | ` | \`\ | \ | \ / | | | |
Then you might connect with this book.
You may have read my review of Philip Bunting’s previous book Mopoke, or you may have read the book.
This book shares a lot of similarities with Mopoke but you can see the hand of Laura Bunting, the author, in this book. Where Mopoke was all about the sly humour of the illustrations and the word play, and it is here in Liarbird, there is also a moral to our story…or two, and more information.
The book is about the famous lyrebird, which you may know from the 10c coin, a bird that is known for the way the males attract the females by mimicking the call of other birds, machinery, and other things.
They are called lyrebirds because of the male’s magnificent tail plumage but you can see why liarbird works so well for a bird that can make itself sound like something else.
At the beginning of the book, we see that the liarbird loves to liar, loves to fib, tell porky pies, and even create a little fake news. They feel pretty good about it since, as we all know, nothing bad can happen when we lie…except…they can. So, the liarbird is a liar no more, they are a truthbird because nothing bad can happen if we are brutally honest all the time…except, liartruthbird finds out that too much brutal honesty can be just as bad.
A lot of the wonderful humour of this book is in the pictures and you can see why it was notable for the picture book category as one of the factors in selection is the way the text and pictures work together and in this book they do so wonderfully. Sometimes that means a page completely without text that allows the reader to understand what is happening and make logical assumptions based on what has come before and the visual information they are given.
This book is definitely a little bit boy who cried wolf but goes on to ask more questions, like the one regarding always telling the truth. I would recommend this book for children 2 and older who like spending a little time with the pictures and talking about the book they are reading. It’s definitely better suited to a small group reading than Storytime but I’m sure I’ll find a way to share this with some kids at the library.
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