Only: The Bird Who Liked ­Being Alone

Little, Brown. Feb. 2024. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316409612.
PreS-Gr 2–This sweet, straightforward story introduces young readers to the idea that individuals with different personalities can still be the best of friends. The cast of characters here is a candy-hued flock of birds with exuberant personalities that live up to names like Squawky and Flappy, except for one: Only, a pink bird who prefers quiet time alone. Eager to ensure the well-being of their quiet friend, the other well-intentioned birds try to engage Only in singing and games, and are puzzled when Only builds a nest as a retreat after becoming exhausted with their rambunctious playing. Eventually, the other birds give Only’s gentle ways a try, and a harmonious balance of activities is achieved with every bird feeling included. The bulk of the book’s prose is dialogue presented in comic book word bubbles, making for an animated story time or classroom read-aloud. Brightly colored illustrations rendered in gouache on hot press watercolor paper have cheerful patterns and texture that complement the positive tone of the story.
VERDICT Affirming for introverts and extroverts, this feel-good animal story invites discussion about empathy and friendship. A welcome purchase for most picture book collections.

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