Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Ten Birds

Young, Cybèle (Author/Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2011. 32 pages
First published: 2011
ISBN: 9781554535682 (hardcover)
9781554539246 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

figurative language, recurring patterns

Awards

Governor General’s Literary Award – 2011
USBBY Outstanding International Books List – 2012

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Ten birds, named for their supposed intelligence, are brainstorming ways to cross a river. Each devises an ingenious contraption from random materials. “Brilliant” builds a pair of stilts. “Extraordinary” engineers a hot-air balloon. Nine make their convoluted way across but only the last bird, “Needs Improvement,” uses common sense and comes up with the best solution. A counting book, this quirky tale pokes fun at the way people (or birds) may complicate even the simplest things.

Spare text uses irony to reinforce the idea that intelligence also requires common sense. (The bridge – the most obvious solution – is never once considered by any of the nine ‘intelligent’ birds.)

Detailed pen-and-ink drawings, reminiscent of woodcuts, will encourage children to read between the lines and locate the numbers, one through ten, hidden in the junk that morphs into the birds’ inventions. A final humorous image depicts the birds taking flight after their zany efforts to get to the other side.

A fun read-aloud for all ages, the book could trigger discussions about common sense and the inadequacy of labels.

  •  

    Before reading, try to determine what the machines that sit on the beach could be. After reading, return to that page and try again. What do you notice now that you did not notice before?

  •  

    Speculate as to why the author named the birds as she did. How do the names affect how you perceive the birds? What name might fit “Needs Improvement” better?

  •  

    In pairs, decide which river-crossing methods are simplest, most and least efficient, most creative, hardest to make, coolest. Compare choices with your classmates.

  •  

    Pretend you are a teacher and write a letter to the birds explaining what you thought of their work. Be sure to include the last page in your comments.

  •  From the cover page and the two two-page spreads, predict what the story will be.
  •  In pairs, decide which river-crossing methods are simplest; most and least efficient; most creative; hardest to make; coolest. Compare your choices with your classmates.
  •  

    Find out the names of the early machines. Discuss how the technology depicted on the pages has been used to create today’s tools.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To solve problems
  • To use creativity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology