A man recalls sitting on Papaw's white rail fence all day and counting the endless birds that flew by, and now with his own son, he sits by the fence waiting to see the birds, which are now much more scarce.
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A boy sits and watches the river flow, only this is a river of birds--countless starlings, maybe grackles--that comprise the Black Sky River. Noisy and full of droppings, the birds eat the bitter (read poison) seeds cast by the citizenry, and the mighty torrent during migration is reduced to a trickle. Cacophonous and filthy the birds were, perhaps, but the boy misses ``the mystery, the wondering of things without beginning, without end.'' As a man, he tells his son that maybe one day they will again witness the Black Sky River. Among other worthy sentiments, Seymour (I Love My Buzzard, 1994, etc.) offers a mostly gentle ecological plea for letting things be, although the use of the ``bitter seed'' will seem, to contemporary children, like a form of murder. Andreasen's mournful paintings, fusing Norman Rockwell and John Constable, complement the melancholy air of the story. (Picture book. 4-7) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Ages 5^-7. "I used to sit, / as you sit now, / on Pappaw's crooked white rail fence / and watch the Black Sky River flow." In lyrical language filled with sensory images, a father describes to his son his experience as a young boy watching the migration of "a long, dark, endless ribbon" of birds. He explains that his youthful wonder and awe was not shared by the townspeople, who complained about the noise and germs and scattered bitter seed to feed the birds--until what used to be an endless river of birds in flight "shrank to little flocks / that rushed across the sky." Lovely oil paintings have a serene small-town feel, with Norman Rockwell^-like people and settings that belie the serious nature of the story. Still, the optimistic ending shows a hopeful father tucking his smiling son into bed, talking expectantly of a day when the Black Sky River will flow again. Lauren Peterson
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Book Description Orchard Books, 1996. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0531088871