Title: White BirdWhite Bird
Author: Clyde Robert Bulla
Illustrator: Donald Cook
Pages: 64
Reading Level: 7-10
Star Rating: ★★★

From the author of Riding With the Pony ExpressThe Sword in the Stone, Pirate’s PromiseShoeshine Girl, Three Dollar Mule, Last Look, The Ghost of Windy Hill,  and The Paint Box Kid.

That is one freakishly long list.

The Story.

No one knows who John Thomas’s parents are. They don’t even know if John Thomas is his real name. It’s the name that Luke Vail gave the boy when he found him floating on the river in a cradle – a cradle marked with the initials JT.

John lives on a farm with Luke. As he grows older he never sees people – Luke is convinced that most people are evil and that their only interest is to get what they can out of live, never to give.

Then one day, John finds a pure white crow. Because he is so lonely for companionship, he decides to keep the bird as a pet. Luke is skeptical of their growing friendship and claims that no good can come of it.

John disagrees. But then comes the day when their farm is visited by three brothers and, when they leave, they take White Bird with them. John is determined to get the bird back, but the only way is to set out into the great unknown world. Will he do it?


Clyde Robert Bulla is one of those modern authors who has the uncanny ability to ape the styles of past centuries to a convincing degree. In this story, he copies the slightly austere but still vivid style of the early eighteen hundreds.

The story itself wavered between sad and sadder for the most part. John Thomas has no friends outside of Luke and Luke himself is a grouchy man. When his bird is stolen, John ventures out into the world and discovers that the people there aren’t so bad after all. He is unable to recover his bird, though, because it has been shot, so he returns home sad but wise.

Conclusion. On the plus side of okay – not my favorite out of Bulla’s stories.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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