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Of Bird Hikes, Kittens, and Dreams: The Little Island and Ageless Children’s Literature

If you are not a bird watcher, your first bird hike can be excruciating. In 45 minutes you can cover 500 yards in the assorted company of people who stand, stare and occasionally mumble odd phrases like “wing-bar,” “downy,” and “drink-your-tea.” The experience can be a little surreal until you also enter into that surreal world, a world of marvel and wonder revealed by the chance sighting of—sometimes just a chickadee.

Some children’s literature is like that too. The Little Island, written by Margaret Wise Brown under the pen name Golden MacDonald, is a bit like a bird hike and can evoke the same extremes of reactions as a bird hike.


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