|Boy, the bird & the coffin maker|
Author: Woods, Matilda
Alberto, the town's coffin maker, and Tito, a runaway boy, both lonely after suffering tragic losses, learn the power of friendship as they try to escape the shadows of their pasts.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 194731
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/18)
School Library Journal (03/01/18)
Booklist (+) (04/15/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2018 Gr 3–6—A lyrical and melancholy tale about a lonely man who befriends a small boy and his bird. Alberto is the town coffin maker, having taken this role after a plague claimed his entire family and decimated the town of Allora, famous for its seaside location and flying fish. When a small boy named Tito, along with his pet bird Fia, sneaks into Alberto's home to steal food, the old man welcomes him and the two form a bond. Tito's father, a rather sinister-seeming character, is on the hunt for the boy, and Alberto helps Tito hide. The atmospheric writing and light touches of magical realism give the story a slightly fantastical feel. The blue typeface and illustrations add to this quality; each page is illustrated along its borders and there are additional full-page illustrations throughout. The measured pace of the story allows for character development, not only of Alberto and Tito but also for many minor characters, including a fisherman and the mayor. VERDICT Give to fans of Jessica Townsend's Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow or Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon. A strong purchase for large and medium-sized collections.—Jenni Frencham, Columbus Public Library, WI - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2018 *Starred Review* Woods fashions an incredibly tender, old-fashioned story in her debut. Using an economy of prose, she confidently unspools the story of young Tito Bonito and how he came to Allora, a quaint Italian town known for its flying fish and colorful houses. There, a carpenter named Alberto lives atop a hill, and after a plague ravages the town and claims his family, he becomes Allora’s coffin maker. Many years later, Alberto discovers a skittish, starving boy stealing food from his kitchen, accompanied by a rainbow-feathered bird. Big-hearted Alberto gradually wins the boy’s trust, finding an apprentice and surrogate son in the process. However, little Bonito has frightening things in his past that catch up to him, and Alberto must put his coffin-making skills to unusual use in order to help the boy. Wood deftly evokes a wondrous sense of place and creates characters for whom readers will deeply care. Antique blue page borders and illustrations add to the story’s folkloric feel, a quality amplified by the role such tales play in the narrative itself. Death, gossip, greed, and cruelty touch this story, but they are outshone by true friendships and the love that grows between Alberto and Tito—and the bird, Fia, of course. This uplifting book will enthrall readers, enveloping them in its gentle charm. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.