This exceptional picture book is a meditation on the creative process, an exemplar of how creativity and collaboration can transform the simplest of ideas. Its writer knows that in leaving space for the visuals to come, she cannot afford to waste a single word, her poetry complemented by a fine artist given license to add both breadth and focus to the words before him. 'How to Make a Bird' is a magnificent exhibition of treading the narrow line that separates restraint and creative freedom.
Meg McKinlay's words describing the process of making a bird from conception to animation to its bittersweet conclusion are, like all good poetry, about more than what they appear to be. And with the metaphor of creativity and personal growth established, Matt Ottley brings his full talent to bear, adding the most subtle detail and layers of storytelling in a way that elevates the experience of the character without being overbearing or didactic. The result is a book that does what all great art sets out to do—it establishes a contract with the reader: 'If you are prepared to invest and become a part of this collaboration, you will be richly rewarded.' And so it is, drawing the observer into a world that is whimsical without being sentimental, detailed without being cluttered, and effortlessly profound.
Beautifully written, stunningly illustrated and painstakingly designed, this book deserves to be enjoyed by everyone. Young children, early readers, students of poetry and art, the casual coffee-table reader—this book rewards anyone who cares to open it, be it for the first time or the hundredth.