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The Birdman: Reviews

The Globe and Mail
"This story is a small slice of real life in a city where the flavours, heat and colour are revealed in the small details of Charles's prose, and in the vivid, populous illustrations."

Quill & Quire, starred review
"The first thing that must be said about The Birdman is that the illustrations... are gorgeous. With intricate Gustav Klimt-style patterns filling every brilliantly coloured area, the book's illustrations are also reminiscent of Chagall... The paintings are still wholly individual and suited to the text. The story is simple, very touching, and elegantly told, evoking Calcutta's colour, heat, and its citizens' difficult lives. And -let me say it again - the illustrations are exquisite."

The Toronto Star
"Through suggestive symbolism and surreal imagery, Galouchko and Daigle emphasize the connection between humans and nature that underlies this true story."

"... [The]... vivid, poetic text [is based] on a true story (explained in a lengthy afterword), [and while] frank about the pain of loss, ...focuses on the uplifting message that acts of kindness can ease grief. The illustrators extend the story's spirit-healing themes in vibrant folk-art paintings, gloriously patterned with flowers, Hindu symbols, and soaring birds."

CM Magazine, ****/4 Highly Recommended.
"Bright, colourful illustrations and smooth, soothing language... As the story unfolds, the reader cannot help being touched by this man's pain and the strength it takes him to move on and continue living his life. There is a double page illustration without words that falls in the center of the picture book. It is stunning. The author also includes several pages at the end, giving more details of the real Noor Nobi."

School Library Journal
"Spectacularly illustrated in gouache, this story of grief turned to compassion is lovely to look at and elegantly told."

The Gazette, Montreal
"The artists have created mythical-like images so rich in colour and detail that even children who can't read words will be able to feed their imaginations - and come away enriched."

Canadian Children's Book News
"Charles's writing is elegiac yet filled with hope and makes mature themes such as loss and faith easily digestible for the reader. Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and Stephan Daigle's artwork beautifully complements Charles's powerful text. Rendered in gouache, the luscious illustrations beautifully capture the busy streets of Calcutta and the exhilarating liberation of the exotic birds."

Montreal Review of Books
"Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and Stephan Daigle's gouache illustrations, inspired by Indian fold art, are bright and intricately detailed. The author's rendering of this remarkable and inspirational story should generate discussion with young readers, and would be a great addition to school and children's libraries."

The Deakin Newsletter
"This moving true story is vibrantly illustrated in rich colour. This is a beautiful striking book."

"The 'caged bird' has long been a metaphor to express feelings of imprisonment and longing, and has seldom been more poignantly portrayed than in this real life story by Toronto-based, award-winning author and illustrator Veronica Martenova Charles. Illustrators Galouchko and Daigle deserve to be showered with praise for their exquisite paintings of brightly colored birds of all kinds. This book, much like Noor Nobi and the birds themselves, inspires a reverential awe."

The Midwest Book Review
"Engagingly written by Veronika Martenova Charles and enhanced with distinctive illustrations by the team of Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and Stephan Daigle... This touching, compassionate, true story is strongly recommended reading for children ages 5 to 8 and a welcome contribution to family, school, and community library picturebook shelves."

The Record
"The Birdman is a true story, made all the more touching with tender illustrations and photos..."

Star Phoenix, Saskatoon
"[Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and Stephan Daigle's] fine tapestries of line drawings and dazzling gouache interweave Indian motifs in what is truly a delight for the eyes as well as the heart."

Winnipeg Free Press
"The artwork in this book is like an Indian sari, brilliant and detailed. The illustrators... combine elements of symbolism and traditional design in their painting."

The Chronicle Herald, Halifax
".. .rich colours, patterns and symbolism... The illustrations are a stunning portrayal of one man's salvation."

Resource Links
"The sincerity with which Charles imparts this story imbues it with many layers. The simple yet richly descriptive text reads aloud beautifully, and the themes of overcoming grief and making the world a better place give the tale depth. ... This story's universal appeal and message of hope are suitable for any grade level."

City Parent
"Charles conjures up Noor Nobi's Calcutta in language that evokes the magic of fairy tales, a mood enhanced by the art of Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and Stephan Daigle (for which they have been nominated for the Governor General's Award) with its vibrant colours and design elements reminiscent of paisley shawls."

click to enlarge

published by Tundra Books

Cover artwork used with permission.
All rights reserved.

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© copyright Veronika Martenova Charles. Artwork used by permission. Website by Hoffworks