The Dead Bird

by Margaret Wise Brown

Paperback, 1995



Call number




HarperCollins (1995), Edition: 1, 48 pages


When they find a dead bird, a group of children bury it in the woods, sing a song to it, and put flowers on the grave.

User reviews

LibraryThing member brendanFK
This book is Margaret Wise Brown at her most intriguing, and her most blunt. This is a book about death and children The bluntness of the theme, the bluntness of the art and the fact the the book is presented on alternating text-only and image-only pages is a little off-putting to adults at first,
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but not as much to kids. As an adult I got over it and could enjoy this wonderful book.

Charlip's illustrations are clear and bold although the color is a but washed out in a 60's sort of way.

This is the story of some children coming upon a dead bird and what they do with it. It is an excellent take on how children would respond to the death of bird if they were awed and moved by it. And an action that readers can identify with. Here is the song they sing to it after burying it:
Oh bird you're dead / You'll nover fly again / Way up high / With other birds in the sky / We sing to you / Because you're dead / Feather bird / And we buried you / in the ground / With ferns and flowers / Because you will never fly / Again in the sky / Way up high / little dead bird.
This is just the thing a group of six year-olds would have come up with.

It is also a good model for children dealing with death in their lives beyond the story. The children continue their play on the last page, but with the knowledge that they can, and the intention to return to visit the grave every day.

Although this book does not have whimsy or humor, and is not visually bold or detailed by our modern standards it tends to captivate both kids and adults (as with most things Margaret Wise Brown wrote).
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LibraryThing member DaisyWoods
This is a story about a group of children who were outdoors playing a stumble upon a dead bird. They were curious and checked to see if it was really dead. When they discover it is, the decide to have a funeral. They went into the forest and dug a grave. They carefully buried the bird with flowers
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and a gravestone. They all sang a song and cried for the bird. They visited everyday until they eventually forgot about the bird.

I thought this story was a great story to explain to children about the death of an animal. There were many times I had come across a poor bird when I was a small child. I was always so sad for the birds. This is an informative story for children dealing with a pet or animal they come across.

I would read this story to the class perhaps after a child loses a family pet. When were finished reading, we would then discuss as a group what they thought about the story and ways they think they can deal with the loss of an animal.
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LibraryThing member derbygirl
(easy) Children find a dead bird in the woods where they are playing. The children are very sad but in their ritualistic sacred treatment of the bird's remains, they are able to find happiness once again. Only Margaret Wise Brown could deliver such a potent message with such limited use of not only
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text, but illustrations. You probably could have told the story without words and it would have been just as effective. This was a wonderful book and what a beautiful way to approach what can be a very scary topic (death) for children. The story was sad, but bittersweet as well when we see that though the beauty of the bird will not be forgotten, the children were able to continue their play after they buried the bird.
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LibraryThing member iceangel456
this book is about a group of friends who find a dead bird and decide to bury and grieve it
LibraryThing member omphalos02
An odd little book from 1938 with updated illustrations by Christian Robinson. The story is almost macabre the way the bird is "still warm" when they find it and then grows "stiff" (and its "head didn't flop when they moved it"). A group of children pick up the bird (?!) and bury it in the woods,
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afterwards singing it an almost taunting little song. They go back every day ("until they forgot) and repeat this ritual.
Personally, I would not read this book to young children - handling a dead bird? - without some pretty thorough discussion beforehand.

The illustrations are actually quite sweet in a naive style and add an element of delight to an otherwise downbeat story.
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LibraryThing member melodyreads
It really is a lovely book ...
LibraryThing member Lake_Oswego_UCC
Large format picture book. Children find a dead bird in the park.
LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Some children walking through the park discover a dead bird lying on the ground and decide to give it a proper burial.

I wanted to like this book. The concept was great -- introducing kids to the concept of death in a way that isn't overwhelming -- and the illustrations were lauded as among "the
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best" of last year's crop of picture books.

But I was a little skeptical of the actual book. Again, I still liked the idea of the book, but references to the flopping heads of dead creatures seems a bit too detailed for young readers. The lauded illustrations are okay but a little too stylized for my taste.

Overall, I was disappointed with this book. I was hoping for something better from Margaret Wise Brown. That all being said though, this book seems to have gotten a much more positive response from critics and general readers other than me.
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Original language


Physical description

8.19 x 6 inches


0064433269 / 9780064433266
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