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|Each little bird that sings|
Author: Wiles, Deborah
Ten-year-old Comfort is acquainted with death since her family runs a funeral parlor, but she is unprepared for the series of events that begins with the death of her great-uncle Edisto.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 85982
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 36380
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/15/05)
School Library Journal (03/05)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (02/05)
The Hornbook (03/05)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2005 Ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger, daughter of a dynamic family, feels safe and blessed. Since the Snowbergers run their community’s funeral parlor, death is a natural part of their existence, and the family celebrates the “messy glory” of the life of each person who passes through their Serenity Suite on the way to the cemetery. The deaths of Comfort’s adored live-in great-uncle and great-great-aunt within the same year are still hard on the whole family, particularly on Comfort’s eight-year-old cousin Peach, who just can’t handle the bad news. Comfort’s best friend, Declaration, has her patience strained by Peach’s wailing, by the dog Dismay’s exuberance, and by Comfort’s propensity for writing provocative Life Notices instead of relying on the more traditional obituaries for the dear departed. A rift in the friendship gapes wide on the weekend of Great-great-aunt Florentine’s funeral, when Peach is visiting in all his drizzly irksomeness and it seems to Comfort that not one more thing can go wrong. A flash flood proves otherwise and forces Comfort to confront the fact that while death is everpresent, so is life. The family takes on joyous dimensionality through Comfort’s first-person narration, her memories and comments highlighting each person’s quirkiness and tenderness. Comfort’s own liveliness is evident in her vivid voice and in the newspaper notices and friend-to-friend notes included in the text. These written inserts sometimes take on a more sophisticated tone than a ten-year-old would usually achieve, but Comfort’s point of view throughout the body of the narration remains consistent. Her emergent comprehension of the significance of both life and death creates a credible and persuasive conclusion, resulting in a novel that is both more hopeful and more witty than Creech’s similarly themed Chasing Redbird (BCCB 3/97). - Copyright 2005 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2005 Gr 4-6-"I come from a family with a lot of dead people." So begins this narrative by 10-year-old Comfort Snowberger, who prides herself on taking death in stride-after all, her family owns and operates the funeral parlor in the small town of Snapfinger, MS. Then loss hits closer to home, first with the death of Great-uncle Edisto and, a few months later, with Great-great-aunt Florentine. During a storm on the way to the cemetery, flooding causes an accident involving Comfort; her irritating, emotional cousin, Peach; and her beloved dog, Dismay, who drowns. Interspersed throughout is the story of the girl's changing relationship with her friend Declaration Johnson, who seems to be dropping her. Comfort writes and submits "Life Notices" (as opposed to Death Notices) to the Aurora County News, along with such items as her "Top Ten Tips for First-rate Funeral Behavior" ("This is not a good time to remind the family that the deceased owes you money"), and, for friends, a recipe or two. Sensitive, funny, and occasionally impatient, Comfort is a wholly sympathetic protagonist who learns that emotions may not be as easy to control as she had assumed. While the book is a bit too long and some of the Southern eccentricity wears thin, this is a deeply felt novel.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2005 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2005 Like her charming Love, Ruby Lavender (2001), Wiles' second middle-grade novel is set in the colorful, cloistered climes of rural Aurora County, Mississippi. The narrator here is 10-year-old Comfort, who lives happily in the funeral home run by her family. A born reporter, she writes obituaries for the local paper. If only they weren't so opinionated, they might even be printed. As accustomed to funerals as she thinks she is, though, the deaths of her great-uncle, great-great-aunt, and beloved dog, Dismay, throw her for a loop. There's also the possible defection of her best friend, Declaration Johnson, and the overwrought emotional displays of her younger cousin. Comfort relates the deaths of the older family members on the first page of the book, but the dramatic disappearance of Dismay in a flash flood is told with a keen sense of suspense. Even aside from such happy extras as funeral food recipes and Comfort's Top Ten Tips for First-Rate Funeral Behavior, Wiles succeeds wonderfully in capturing the messy glory of grief and life. - Copyright 2005 Booklist.