Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 7
- Grade: k to 5
A vain blue budgie flies the coop only to find that there's no place like home
Barnaby is a blue budgie who’s got it all: a golden cage, bells to jingle-jangle, and an owner who gives him all the snacks and attention he wants. Until his owner brings home a “friend” for Barnaby: a little yellow canary.
Barnaby is not happy. When his tantrums don’t convince his owner to get rid of the canary, Barnaby flies away and ends up hopelessly lost. While stopping for a rest, he encounters a flock of wild sparrows. At first, he looks down his beak at the drab, brown birds. But, growing hungrier and thirstier, he realizes he has a lot to learn from them.
Soon Barnaby is a part of their flock, scavenging for seeds and riding on the wind. But Barnaby can’t forget his former home, and every night he searches for his owner’s house using tricks the sparrows taught him. Finally, he finds it, and Barnaby returns home a changed bird. With subtle messages about sibling rivalry and jealousy, readers will enjoy Barnaby’s antics and the sweet conclusion to this story.
About the authors
Andrea Curtis is an author of books for children and adults. Her children’s non-fiction titles include Eat This!, which received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, and What’s for Lunch?, named to VOYA’s Honor list. She has also written the young adult novel Big Water. Her adult books include Into the Blue, winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction, and The Stop, winner of the Heritage Toronto Award of Merit and a finalist for the Toronto Book Award. She has also won a number of National Magazine Awards. Andrea lives with her family in Toronto.
KASS REICH is an artist and educator. She graduated with a degree in Art Education from Concordia University, then worked in Beijing as an early childhood educator for nearly three years. Working with little ones inspired her to start making picture books for young learners. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
- Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens
"Curtis works endearing bird behavior into the text lightly ... Reich’s gouache illustrations capture Barnaby perfectly."
Youth Services Book Review
"Curtis pens a story filled with emotion. Readers will feel all that Barnaby feels ... This book makes for an enjoyable readaloud, and a sure conversation starter."
Sal's Fiction Addiction
"[Curtis uses] poetic figures of speech ... Reich’s gouache paintings with colored pencil are honey-toned and golden ... Full of feeling."
Kirkus Reviews – STARRED REVIEW
"The softened scenes in a rich palette show what Barnaby is feeling and seeing as he experiences his world growing. One budgie’s emotional growth after leaving home will ring familiar to young children."
School Library Journal
"A thoughtful, beautifully rich story ... Barnaby reads like a modern fable, so vibrantly captured and presented by the winning combination of Curtis’s detailed storytelling and Reich’s captivating illustrations."
Fab Book Reviews
"Curtis’ thoughtful, clever story is told via gentle observations and gorgeous descriptions, with Reich’s warm gouache and colored-pencil illustrations beautifully capturing the cozy scenes and entertaining avian personalities. Though it will resonate especially with children dealing with a similar sibling addition, this will charm any young reader."
Other titles by Andrea Curtis
City Streets Are for People
City of Water
A Forest in the City
How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (And How to Fight Back)
How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement
The Churches of Oro-Medonte
What’s for Lunch?
How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World
What's for Lunch?
How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World
Into the Blue
Other titles by Kass Reich
Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday
What Grew in Larry's Garden
Megabat Is a Fraidybat
The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War