Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Basil's Birds

Basil's Birds
written and illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed
(Marshall Cavendish Children) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library

Birds are building nests all over Perch Elementary. On the flagpole, above the doorway, and in the eaves spout. Principal Kabalsky is apoplectic and she demands that the custodian, Basil Berkmeister, do something about it. Basil tries swatting at the birds with a broom, but is not only unsuccessful but also so tired that he falls asleep on the playground slide. This allows the birds to build a nest on Basil's bald head. He first notices when he goes to get a hair cut. He is appalled at first, but then feels sorry for the bird that has worked so hard to build a nest. Basil leaves the nest on his head and starts a friendship with the bird which leads to unexpected consequences.

A guy with a bird nest on his head is a funny premise. But Basil's Birds is also about friendship and parenting. Basil becomes a terrific father to the birds which should help students make connections with their lives and their parents. If they have pets, connections can be made with those relationships as well. I think this book could also be used for a lesson on problem and solution as well. How does Basil solve his problem with the birds and what is the solution to his sense of loss later on in the book? Students will enjoy the combination of humor and sweetness in Basil's Birds.

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