At one time, not so very long ago, there remained only five black robins in the whole world. The story of Old Blue is a remarkable account of survival and conservation.
I was lucky enough to be given a copy of the book Old Blue to review ... and I say lucky as this is an amazing book.
I intended to read it to my 5 year old, but I was out one evening and hubby decided to do so instead... but apparently reported back that our daughter didn't find it all that interesting. The next morning she told me it was a bit 'adulty'... so a bit disheartened, I sat down to read it to myself instead...
I can see why it appears 'adulty' as it has a LOT of words per page, but it is designed for children and I believe the beautiful pictures support the story well. It even took me a couple of short sittings to read the whole book to myself... but oh what a wonderful story. Now I'm not one to cry at books, but I really found myself choking back the tears at the end.
The story is a true story of how the black robin was saved from extinction with only 5 birds left, only 2 of them female and neither seeming to be able to breed successfully. Simply amazing and every single thing written in the book was necessary to the story.
This book is recommended from age 3, but as I say my 5 year old wasn't quite ready for it yet. Perhaps it might have been different if I'd had the chance to sit down to read it to her first, ad-lib, explain and so on as I went along. As I didn't get to do that, she's not keen on reading the rest of the book just yet, so I'm going to put it away and re-introduce it in about a year or so. I think this would suit children from age 6 or so right up to teens and adults. A great teaching and learning tool, and I can see it as a great resource for possible school projects and so on. A book I'd encourage everyone to read at some point. So beg, borrow, or buy but this is one story that is a must-read!
Oh my, was this book a tear jerker or what. I do tend to cry when the story in a picture book is true or is based on something I know to be true about the human spirit or whatever. But this book, had me absolutely choking up and the last few pages took me easily longer to read than the rest of the book combined.
Old Blue tells the bittersweet tale of a beautiful little bird who goes above and beyond to help save her kind from extinction. With the help of an amazing team of human conservation staff, and other birds fostering eggs and chicks, as well.
The book itself has amazing illustrations. I love the way the natural colours of the birds, and surroundings have been captured. I love the way the pictures frame the prose on each page. It's a really attractive presentation. The story was quite lengthy. I think it took me about 30 - 45 minutes to read to my daughter. But I can't think what could have been removed. All the detail was relevant and useful for the discussions we had.
My daughter was jumping around on the bed for the first page but as the story grew sadder, she sat down quietly by me and took it all in. As the story perked up, she clapped and cheered at each new tally. She talked about other native birds that need our help and the Fairy Tern is mentioned at the end of this book as well. It allowed us to discuss conservation and "naughty humans" and what we can do when we are in the forest. It makes me feel good about the future for all our native birds when kids like her take on stories like this and it empowers them to act.
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