Johnny’s Pheasant – Cheryl Minnema, illustrated by Julie Flett

 Johnny’s Pheasant – Cheryl Minnema, illustrated by Julie Flett, University of Minnesota Press, 9781517905019, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book? This is a sweet story of a young boy who befriends a wild pheasant–if only for a very short time. The story begins with a young boy travelling in the car with his grandmother. He is staring out the window and suddenly notices a pheasant lying in the grass. It seems the pheasant might have been struck by a car, so the boy and his grandmother brought it home. The boy begins to communicate with the pheasant by flapping his wings and saying “hoot hoot”.  They are in the house for only a few short minutes when the pheasant flies around the living room and out the door. The little boy runs around outside with it for a few minutes, soaring and hooting, before it takes off into the distant sky. The pheasant does leave one souvenir–a beautiful single feather.

This is a very simple story with simple illustrations in beautiful dark muted tones–very similar to the illustrations by Ezra Keats. There is not much of a plot to this story but I do like that it shows a positive relationship between and young boy and an animal in nature. For that brief time, there was a connection of understanding and compassion.

 Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for children between the ages of three and five. I could see this being read during a library story time and the kids soaring and hooting along with the young boy. I would say that fans of Ezra Keats would enjoy this book because of the similarities of text and illustrations.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, daycares centers, preschools, anyone that works with children between the ages of three and six.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: January 11, 2020


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