My bird, Bertie by Amelia McInerney and Shane McG

cover image

The front cover shows a skewed motor vehicle and two animals sitting in the front, their eyes staring out to the right. I laughed out loud, wondering what they are looking at, and where they are going, questioning what the bear's name is if the bird is Bertie. The happy pair motors down the road with a rhyming refrain telling us about Bertie and the dog travelling together, 'My bird, Bertie' repeated often, giving children a solid dose of alliteration, rhyming words, repetition, predicting rhymes and singing along. All good fun.

Then Gertie is seen along the road, and the car stops for her. Now there are three, the driver, my bird Bertie and giggling Gertie. All too soon silly billy Tilly is added to the crowd. By now, the looks on the driver's and Bertie's faces tell a different story from the looks on their passengers' faces. And children will be laughing out loud repeating the words and predicting the rhyming words within the verses. When the crowded interior of the car becomes suffocating for the driver and his friend, Bertie, they spy a bus! And just in time as another larger group of people is waving down the car.

A clear, large font, with a text that uses repetition, alliteration, prediction and humour, sit beautifully with wonderfully fluid illustrations, the detail of which will cause eager eyes to pick out lots of smaller elements featured on each page. I love watching the changes in facial expressions, and enjoyed the detail in the end papers.

The old adage 'two's company, three's a crowd' takes on a life of its own in this humorous book, impelling children to think about the application of this adage to the story.

Themes: Friendship, Humour, Verse, Relationships, Alliteration, Repetition, Prediction.

Fran Knight