March 08, 2017

Bill Bowerbird and the Unbearable Beak-Ache

Written and illustrated by Tyler Clark Burke
Owlkids Books
978-1-77147-154-1
Ages 3-7
32 pp.
March 2017

The bowerbirds of the southern hemisphere have nothing on Bill Bowerbird, style maven and artiste extraordinaire.  His bower has the typical sticks but his collection is festooned with an odd assortment of trinkets and
He has a felt cap and blue boots,
a rooster's comb, a copper flute,
a lion's pride for loot and trash,
a broken bike, a runway sash.
From Bill Bowerbird and the Unbearable Beak-Ache 
by Tyler Clark Burke
He also has a roaring beak-ache and in need of help to alleviate it.  Bill visits the owl who recommends honey; zebras who share their stripes; the town clerk walrus who provides a frozen carrot; and then a frog, a yak, a grouse and a pair of beavers provide their potential cures. Bringing home his assemblage of proffered aids, Bill discovers his beak-ache was caused by an emerging tooth.  So, to share his news and thank them for their help, Bill throws a party.  After all, he has all the best stuff for a celebration!

From Bill Bowerbird and the Unbearable Beak-Ache 
by Tyler Clark Burke
Bill Bowerbird and the Unbearable Beak-Ache is Tyler Clark Burke's debut picture book but, with her quirky multimedia art, I suspect we'll be seeing more of her work, perhaps illustrating others' texts as well.  Watercolour washes, cut-paper collages, and pastel work abound in her own bowerbird version of art: a little bit of everything and a whole lot of sparkle.  The colours are vibrant and showy, and her shapes draw attention and demand scrutiny for details.  Tyler Clark Burke infuses that same ebullience in her rhyming text, whether it be the zebras offering their stripes or Bill groaning with a grand "Wickety-tickety BOO-hoo-hoo."

From Bill Bowerbird and the Unbearable Beak-Ache 
by Tyler Clark Burke
Bill Bowerbird and the Unbearable Beak-Ache is a fun take on a toothache and the value of teamwork to share burdens and even make things better, while introducing young readers to the curious bowerbird and its habits.  Though children will probably not be interested in the fact that there is a bowerbird with a tooth-like bill (!), they will be attracted to Bill Bowerbird and his colourful friends and a story with which many of them will be or become familiar, especially when it ends in a party.

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