The Go-Away Bird

The Go-Away Bird by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Catherine Rayner
Published by Pan MacMillan Australia
Date: 26 February 2019
R.R.P. $24.99



The talented duo, Julia Donaldson and Catherine Rayner have come together to bring us a visual feast and rhyming verse that tells a story about friendship and how powerful it can be.

The illustrations in this book are amazing, I felt immersed into the story from the first pages I opened – the end pages.  The Go-Away bird has been elegantly drawn and its stern face has boldly been captured so there is no doubt that she’s not a terribly friendly bird.  The illustrations are warm and inviting even though the Go-Away bird isn’t, and the colours of the other birds add a pop of freshness on each of the pages.  My only concern is the Get-You Bird may scare some children.  It looks intense, and while it is an important turning point in the story the illustration may be overwhelming to some children.

The Go-Away bird sits in her nest looking strong and proud, and as other birds fly to the tree wanting to be friends, she sends them away.  It is not until the Go-Away bird is visited by the Get-You bird that she realises how important friends are.

The story is clever and well layered, and the rhyming flows naturally. As a whole it seems like a simple tale, however some parts are deceptively complex but have been delivered in a way that the child reader understands its context.  The repetition of words like ‘…Go Away! Go Away! Go Away!” create the perfect opportunity for the children to get involved in the story and is also a tool for learning to read.

When the Get-You bird enters the pages the Go-Away bird suddenly seems very small, this is very telling of real-life situations and Julia Donaldson and Catherine Rayner have done well to capture this in a way that children understand.

Parents and educators may find this book’s message about the power of friendship appealing because it demonstrates how working together you can achieve great things, even when one part of the many appears not to value those around him.

Overall, this is a lovely book and I look forward to sharing it in storytimes as I know it is going to be fun for the children to join in with, to learn about friendship and helping each other out.  Thank you Julia and Catherine for bringing us a book that not only entertains but teaches a important message.

Thank you Pan MacMillan for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.