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Tree of Birds


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About the Author

Susan Meddaugh was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey. She graduated from Wheaton College, where she studied French literature and fine arts. After working briefly with an advertising agency in New York, she moved to Boston and worked at a publishing company for ten years, first as a designer, then art editor, and finally as art director. While there, she did the illustrations for GOOD STONES (Houghton Mifflin) by Anne Epstein, and then decided to strike out on her own as a freelance illustrator and creator of children's books. Since that time, Susan has written and illustrated many popular books for children, including MARTHA SPEAKS, which was chosen as a NEW YORK TIMES Best Illustrated Book for 1992. In 1998 she was awarded the New England Book Award, given by the New England Booksellers Association to recognize a body of work. Her work also was acknowledged with a New York Times Best Illustrated Award. She lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.


``Oh, Mom,'' says Harry, arriving home with a wounded bird in his arms. ``Oh my!'' responds his mother, in the sort of understatement found--in words and pictures--throughout this delightful book. It is clear that Harry's broken-winged bird, whom he names Sally, is no ordinary sparrow or pigeon. She is, according to the boy's bird book, a Green Tufted Tropical, a species that cannot tolerate cold weather. This concerns Harry, as winter is on its way. But something else arrives first: an enormous flock of Green Tufted Tropicals, anxious to find Sally. Harry tries everything, but he can't get the persistent creatures to leave their perch in a tree outside his window. When the temperature drops and the first snowfall is forecast, the chattering birds turn blue, but Harry comes to their rescue in an unexpected way. Meddaugh strikes just the right balance between the absurd and the credible in this fanciful tale; children will reach for it again and again. Ages 5 - 8. (Mar.)

"Meddaugh strikes just the right balance between the absurd and the credible in this fanciful tale." Publishers Weekly

PreS-Gr 2-- When Harry meets Sally, an injured bird of doubtful species, he takes her home and nurses her back to health. Sally soon recovers, but Harry is reluctant to part with his ``Green Tufted Tropical'' despite his mother's warning that Sally ``belongs with her friends.'' ``I'm her friend,'' says Harry. A flock of Sally's feathered friends follow Harry to and from school and congregate outside his window, anxiously awaiting her release. Stubbornly refusing to give Sally up, Harry worries that the others may die if they stay until the first snow, and tries to chase them away. In a twist ending, instead of letting Sally go, Harry has the whole flock of birds winter in his room. The humorously expressive watercolor cartoons are well matched with an easy-to-read text, which should make this slight but charming story a real crowd pleaser. --Ruth Smith, Chicago Public Library

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