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Elsie's Bird: 05/21/12
Elsie's Bird by Jane Yolen has the distinction of being her 300th book. She explains in her blog that the book was inspired by a Smithsonian article about the madness some women were plagued with when moving from the big city out the rural territories. Those with canaries faired better for having something familiar to listen to.
Elsie is a young girl who is moving out west with her father. She has a canary, Timmy Tune, her only tie to the hustle and bustle she is leaving behind and so desperately misses. One day she lets him fly free and of course he escapes and she follows him out into the untamed grasslands that stand over her head.
When I read Elsie's Bird I had not read the Smithsonian article. Instead, I was lured to read by the gorgeous artwork done by David Small. Throughout the book Small recreates both Elsie's environment and her mood. His illustrations are worth a second look once the book is done.