November 29, 2021

Birds on Wishbone Street

Written and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo
Pajama Press
‎ 978-1-77278-219-6
40 pp.
Ages 5-8
November 2021

Wishbone Street is more than just a bunch of houses. It's a multicultural community, welcoming and supportive of all. And when a cardinal is injured, that community brings them all, newcomers and long-time residents, together to do good.
From Birds on Wishbone Street by Suzanne Del Rizzo
Moe loves her street, her neighbours, the parkette and all the things she can do there: bird-watching, tree-climbing, and treasure-finding. There's the elderly Ms. Francesca and her caregiver Ms. Frieda, Mei and her little brother Omari, and Mable, the massive maple tree in their neighbourhood parkette. When Syrian refugees Sami and his family (from Suzanne Del Rizzo's My Beautiful Birds) arrive on the street, Moe drops off a welcome box for the young boy. Moe and Sami realize soon enough that they share a love of birds so when winter's first snowfall comes and they discover a female cardinal stunned in the snow, they and their neighbours spring into action: Sami provides the box, Moe brings a blanket, and Ms. Frieda drives them to the vet.
From Birds on Wishbone Street by Suzanne Del Rizzo
Taking the bird home to recuperate, Sami shares with Moe his story and his treasures, memories from his homeland, and he teaches Moe and her friends to make suet treats and roosting pockets. (Directions are included at the end of the book.) With a happy ending, Moe and Sami and all their friends on Wishbone Street demonstrate that good things happen when we work together and show compassion for everyone.

Suzanne Del Rizzo's polymer clay art has always impressed, giving new textures and colours to already-strong stories. But when she illustrates her own stories, Suzanne Del Rizzo shines. There is a synergy of her words and art that elevates both into something truly extraordinary. In Birds on Wishbone Street, Suzanne Del Rizzo honours her own family and those of all immigrants to Canada, and upholds the idea that communities are based on an appreciation for our differences and acknowledgement of our commonalities. With that sense of community, great things can happen: a newcomer feels at home, a bird is helped, and important learning can happen. And with her magnificent art, created with polymer clay, acrylic glaze and other mixed media, Suzanne Del Rizzo takes us to Wishbone Street, into the parkette and into the snow, to bird-watch with Sami and Moe, to yearn for cannoli and churros shared between neighbours, and to feel those first snowflakes on our faces. We're there on Wishbone Street, watching as a world unfolds and enfolds, making one community out of many.

From Birds on Wishbone Street by Suzanne Del Rizzo

There may be snow in Birds on Wishbone Street and on our streets today but this picture book will serve as inspiration year round to promoting the joys of including everyone in our communities to the benefit of all.

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