South (Daniel Duncan)

Hello, friends! Our book today is South by Daniel Duncan, a lovely tale of kindness, friendship, and how we can touch the lives of the ones we care for.

A lone fisherman sails across the sea in his single-man vessel. One day, he finds an injured bird on deck. He takes the poor creature in and mends its broken wing, giving it a warm nest of clothes to sleep in and feeding it from his daily catch. Realizing that the bird will need to be with his own kind come winter, he plots a course South, bringing the bird to the island where its friends and family are, just as the little animal’s wing has healed. While both are reluctant to say goodbye to each other, the fisherman know that this is where is new friend belongs, and encourages him to fly free. After, he frames a feather that the bird left behind to remind him of their friendship and plots a new course, heading home.

This was a sweet, sentimental story about the bittersweet feeling of having to say goodbye, and it was very touching. It reminded me of Jake Parker’s Little Bot And Sparrow, a book with a similar theme, in that it shows young readers that even the most close and affecting friendships must sometimes come to an end. I like that it focused on how our memories of these relationships are something to be cherished, and how the story ends with hope: the fisherman appears to have a family of his own (shown in photos), and is now headed back to them. The illustrations build a beautiful nautical world that establishes the simple existence of the fisherman and the sweet relationship he develops with his bird friend. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it. A beautiful, slightly sad, but ultimately honest and heartwarming story of the power of friendship, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!


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