Really Bird promises to deliver surprise twists, high drama, and a lot of laughs, but it falls flat.

This story begins with an introduction of our three main characters. Really Bird, our protagonist who really wants to be first and his friends, Pup, and Cat. They banter back and forth through a couple of different scenarios like climbing up a tree. This situation is pretty unfair to Pup, the dog, who isn’t not only not good at climbing, but he’s terrified about being up on top of a tree. Really Bird has Cat help Pup down and then Cat celebrates herself for helping Pup. Pup is the only polite and considerate character in this book, as we see him say thank you to Cat for helping him down from the tree that he was peer pressured to climb up. 

Next, we see the characters argue about who was first on the ground. This short story concludes with Really Bird declaring that he was first, and that he is going to be the leader to take them all home. Really Bird wraps up this tale by happily announcing that he wanted to be first today and he was. 

This was a very poorly written book. It delivers a terrible message to young readers and fails to hold your attention despite it being such a quick read. I read this to my child and he was bored and confused with the ending. Additionally, I wish that the text used a consistent sentence case for young readers to see correctly written English, however many words or letters are capitalized when they are not part of a name or a title, for example “OKay” or “Today I really REALLY want to be First”. This may be providing a poor example for the children that this book is designed for to start learning correct sentence structure.

The artwork is very cute. The style is sure to please any child from the beginning inside cover showing our three main characters walking into the story, to the three of them leaving together on the back cover. The drawings are simple, cute and have a bright color theme throughout. This is a picture book, so there are no panels or typical graphic novel page organization. Lastly, the text is a cute, but a large and easy to read font. 

Overall, this book shows selfish characters getting what they want, an example of peer pressuring a friend into a dangerous situation, and celebrating getting to be first. The lesson for children to take away from this story is unclear, perhaps it’s that being first is the best? On the back cover it states that, “Really Bird adventures deliver surprise twists, high drama, and a lot of laughs. Friendship and emotional learning are at the heart of every book.” I missed where there was a plot twist, as the plot was completely predictable, there were absolutely no jokes or obvious humor, and I hope that children don’t learn anything about how to treat others in friendship from the examples in this book. As an avid reader, mother, and librarian, I have read thousands of picture books and this one unfortunately, I couldn’t possibly recommend. 

I Really Want to Be First!: A Really Bird Story Vol. 1
By Harriet Ziefert
Art by  Travis Foster
OtherRed Comet Press, 2022
ISBN: 9781636550183

Publisher Age Rating: 5-7

NFNT Age Recommendation: Picture Books (3-8)

  • Kendra

    | She/Her


    Kendra Perkins has worked at libraries in Canada, the U.A.E., China and South Korea where she has been everything from Founding Head Librarian to volunteer. She was Ambassador of China for the International Librarians Network, and she was elected to be Coordinator for the Shanghai Librarians Network (SLN), which is a community of almost 100 library professionals from more than 20 schools. She has completed her ALA accredited Masters in Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta. She has traveled to over 90 countries, learned to speak basic Mandarin Chinese along the way and kept up with too many graphic novel series to keep count. She has led workshops, created webinars and done library consultations in fun places like Italy and Hong Kong. She has been a guest blogger for multiple technology and education related websites and is a published book reviewer for Urban Family magazine. Find out more at her website, which she should update more frequently:

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