The Bird Feeder
copies bought in the last week
In this poignant story from Andrew Larsen, a child spends time with a beloved grandmother during her final days and experiences love that will last a lifetime.
When Grandma gets sick and comes to stay at her grandchild’s house, she brings her bird feeder. Grandma loves birds. And the child loves the time they now get to have together, drawing pictures of birds and “talking about interesting things.” After a while, though, Grandma’s health declines, and she moves to the hospice. Hanging Grandma’s bird feeder outside the window there makes things better. After a while, though, Grandma continues to grow weaker, and her ability to interact lessens. Difficult as it is, the child adjusts, knowing that, while the situation keeps changing, their love for each other never wavers.
Award-winning author Andrew Larsen beautifully captures the special bond between a child and a grandparent, and sensitively deals with a child’s loss of a loved one. Using the motif of their shared love of birds and its physical manifestation in the form of the bird feeder allows for a continuity in the child’s life that puts the loss in a larger context. Larsen offers an authentic, straightforward presentation of the process of a loved one’s death, from being sick, to going to the hospice, to participating less and less in their relationship, to death. It will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who die. The cool palette and simple lines in Dorothy Leung’s art evoke empathy for the child’s experience, while the presence of the birds adds life and hope to the visual story.