The Language of Birds

Author/Illustrator: Illustrated by Rafe Martin and Susan Gaber
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2000
Genre: Russian Fairy Tale - picture book
Gr. K-3

Overview: When two young sons are given money by their wealthy father, one son (Vasilii) wastes his money, and the other (Ivan), learns to speak the language of birds. When Ivan reports to his father the birds’ prediction that one day the wealthy merchant will serve Ivan, the old man gets angry and sends Ivan away. Through Ivan’s kindness and his talent of speaking with the birds, the young man advances in life and marries the daughter of a wealthy king. The wealthy merchant father loses his riches and comes to serve Ivan, just as the birds once predicted.

Activity: Have children invent a dialogue between themselves and an animal of their choice. What would the animal say to them, and what would be their response?

Reviewer’s Name: Katie Coursey