A Beautiful House for Birds
Grace Lin, author and illustrator
Grace Lin, a New York Times best-selling author/illustrator, has won the Caldecott Honor for A Big Mooncake for Little Star, the Newbery Honor for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and the Theodor Geisel Honor for Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same. Her novel When the Sea Turned to Silver was a National Book Award finalist. Grace is a commentator for New England Public Radio, a reviewer for the New York Times, and a video essayist for PBS NewsHour. You can hear her speak about diversity and children's literature in her popular TEDx talk "The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child's Bookshelf."
Read more about Grace.
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Kirkus Reviews, starred review
When a girl decorates a birdhouse, readers learn about patterns.
Lin’s brilliant new addition to the Storytelling Math series explores a single math concept with a simple story told in language appropriate to the board-book set. A Black girl named Olivia, a recurring character in the series, has a wooden birdhouse. “How should I paint it?” she asks readers. Spare wording on each page explains her choice—pink and green stripes—introduces the word pattern, and asks readers to guess which color would come next. Then, in a clever twist, she gets distracted (“Oh hello, birds!”) and accidentally paints a blue stripe. “Oops!” The blue stripe isn’t in the pattern, but after a brief frown, she finds a solution, giving caregivers an opportunity to discuss both more complicated math concepts and making mistakes. It is impressive how few words Lin uses to convey important foundational concepts of patterns, problem-solving, and caring for animals—all in language accessible to toddlers. Her signature painting style is both colorful and homey, its black outlines and visible paint strokes exuding a relaxed feel. Backmatter discusses the importance of learning about patterns and empowers adults to extend the learning through conversation and by noticing patterns all around them.
An exceptionally layered and educational board book.
Lin continues her Storytelling Math series with this simple exploration of patterns. Little Olivia is excited to decorate a wooden birdhouse and decides to paint its roof with pink and green stripes. All is going well until Olivia accidentally adds a blue stripe. “Oops! Now what?” Forging on, a more complex pattern takes shape as the girl continues painting with three colors. The simple text includes repetition and questions directed at the reader, ensuring their engagement with both concept and story. Lin’s color-saturated artwork directly supports the text, and closing tips for educators or caregivers extend the pattern lesson beyond the book.
A girl with dark skin and dark hair wants to paint a beautiful birdhouse for the birds with stripes on the roof. She decides to make a pattern, but gets distracted by a bird and accidentally messes up her pattern. Instead of getting frustrated or upset, she decides to make a new pattern from what she already has and ends up making a great house for the birds. This story introduces an early math skill in such a relatable way and also deals with how to deal with making a mistake. The illustrations are vibrant and colorful and the text is short and simple yet effective. Perfect for babies who love illustrations of children and for older toddlers who are beginning to learn patterns. The last page also features ideas for the adults to continue the learning with simple activities they can do at home. This is a great purchase for any library collection or home library and would make a good read-aloud title for storytime or families.
Page count: 16
6 x 6