Bird in a Box: A Book Review


Bird in a Box

Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkey

Summary: There are three different story lines happening, so I thought I would divide the summary into three parts.


Hibernia dreams of becoming a star. She lives with her dad, the local reverend, after her mom left when she was only a few years old. One day, Hibernia would like to make it to the big stage, but for now, she’s stuck singing in the church choir, in the back because of her height. However, nothing, not even her father’s strict rules, will stop her from making her dream come true.


Willie lives in fear of his father, Sampson, day after day. Constantly abused, Willie thinks of nothing when his father comes home drunk. When Sampson begins to hit Willie and his mother, he thinks again. Willie’s hands will never be able to fight again after what  his father did to him. To prevent future incidents, Willie is sent to Mercy, the local orphanage, to be taken care of. Will Willie ever see his mother again?


Otis was living a happy life with his mother and father, always joking around and listening to the radio. His mom and dad didn’t deserve to die in that car crash. With no one to watch him, Otis makes his way to Mercy, with only his radio to remind him of his parents. He keeps hearing the riddles his dad said, and the voices on the radio make him think of his mom. Nothing can bring his parents back, but will Otis be able to recover from his loss?

My Thoughts: I thought the cover of this was pretty fun, so I picked it up, just to see what it was about. When I read and saw that it was about the 1930’s and the Great Depression, I was intrigued! I was looking forward to a good historical fiction, but the book fell short :( I can’t really put my finger on it, but something about the story felt… off. I didn’t feel Hibernia had a strong enough of a story to be a main character. I found that she was whiny and selfish, and, frankly, kind of annoying. However, I did love the Brown Box Campaign chapter. That was good! I thought it was better to read about her being competitive {although it was all in favor of herself} than her focusing on herself. She wasn’t even that nice to Otis when he gas her that bracelet. {aww, right?} Otis and Willie were so alike, that even their “voices” sounded the same. The chapters were told from each kid’s point of view, but I found the boys’ stories to similar to make a difference. Otis was so sweet, and I loved that he had a crush on Hibernia. {don’t know why he did, but still cute.} Willie had a strong presence, and I felt that he went through more than Otis? Kind of? I was glad to see that *spoiler* he reunited with his mom at the very end. Sampson totally deserved to go to jail. Supposedly, each of the story lines were to relate to Joe Louis’ life. I didn’t really get the connection, but maybe someone else did. I did think that having an overall theme tied the three plots together. The actual writing was slow-paced, and I was bored reading it. Not what I look for in a book geared to upper elementary students. One thing I did enjoy were the sections in the back devoted to Joe Louis and other famous men and women during the 1930’s. The author only wrote about those mentioned in the book, but I appreciated that she took the time to elaborate on some of those figures, especially if you knew nothing about boxing. {which I’m guilty of :)} I have to say I am disappointed in this because of the high expectations that were set.

Pros: Good historical content and solid idea.

Cons: The writing pace was too slow, and the character development had a few holes.

Heads Up: A dad abuses his son.

Overall: I give it 2 stars {**} and I recommend it for ages 8 and up.

Gosh, I keep forgetting that I still have another day before I go back to school! Have a happy Sunday, friends.

Bella :)


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