Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wheel on the Chimney

Wheel on the Chimney
Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Tibor Gergely
J.B. Lippincott, 1954

Always on the lookout for bird books, this house couldn't help but fall for Ms. Brown's take on chimney nesting and the migration habits of the common white stork, helped along by the illustration genius of Mr. Gergely.

First there was one stork, then there were two. They had just arrived from Africa. They built a nest on a wheel on top of a chimney. They built in the spring when there was no smoke and the chimney would not be used again until winter.

Anyone who has ever spent time in southern Europe knows well the whimsical sight of a stork nesting on a church spire or a barn. Locals consider it good luck when a stork chooses their house to build on, so back in the day they began strapping wagon wheels to the tops of chimneys to entice them.

(I took this picture a few years back in Spain.)

This is a lovely story, not wildly imaginary but constant and entertaining all the same. I love the colors Tibor used and the simple black and white of the storks passing through colored villages, blue skies, stormy seas, even mingling with a flock of fabulous flamingos. Just gorgeous. (Oh my goodness. Is this really the first Tibor book I've reviewed? For shame.)

Also by:
Wait Til the Moon is Full
The Quiet Noisy Book
On Christmas Eve
Christmas in the Barn
The Dead Bird
Little Chicken
The Little Island
The Friendly Book
Little Fir Family
The Sailor Dog
Home for a Bunny


Jonathan said...

One of my favorite authors and a favorite illustrator, too! This is a new book to me-thanks for the review!


A said...

Who can go wrong with Margaret Wise Brown?

Playing by the book said...

The only place I've been lucky enough to see a stork is in Hungary - a nice coincidence given that this illustrator was born in Hungary!

stephanie said...

Another one from my wish list...

Cissy said...

Wow. My kids love birds, and I love the illustrations in this book. Must be a winner.

Greta said...

Tibor Gregory is one of my favorite illustrators. I look for his books. I also love MWB. This book I have never seen. It's now on my list.
Thanks for sharing your great finds.

Nan said...

That captain, smoking, with liquor on the table, his arm wrapped around a crane as though it were a casual common event - real and surreal.

Laura Ottina said...

Lovely! Thank you so much for introducing me to another great illustrator...

Lel said...

I'm glad to see a Tibor Gergely book here. He is one of my favorites and has been ever since I read Seven Little Postmen as a child.

chimney pipe said...

Another one from my wish list...

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