Children's Books


Jim Averbeck

ISBN: 978-1250148285

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; Neal Porter Books

Copyright Date: July 24, 2018

Price: $17.99


Trevor is a lonely yellow canary looking for a friend.

He stretches his wings the width of his boring cage and notices the tree outside stretching its branch. And on the end of that branch? Another canary! But he’s so shy and quiet.

Trevor knows just how to make him feel comfortable.

This is an elegantly told, truly unique tale by author Jim Averbeck and illustrator Amy Hevron, of a canary who befriends a lemon and finds that you don’t have to be two of a kind to form a meaningful and lasting friendship.


A lonely canary takes a chance on friendship and the payoff is immeasurable. Bright yellow Trevor knows how to leave his cage (“a tiny peck and the door would pop open”), but he stays for the seeds, especially his favorite stripy ones, which he saves “for the loneliest days.” But then a potential companion arrives outside his window. Averbeck’s gentle fable describes a small bird who’s both too unworldly to recognize that his bright yellow friend is a lemon and too sweet to interpret the lemon’s silence as anything other than friendship. Trevor flies out of his cage to meet the lemon, bringing along his hidden stripy seed to share. Though the seed falls to the ground, Trevor builds a nest, sharing the summer days with his quiet friend, performing duets in which “the lemon sang the silences.” Hevron’s depiction of Trevor’s earnest embrace of this friendship and his small world of cage, window, brown tree, pale blue sky, and yellow lemon is filled with sweetness and simplicity of line and color. A storm knocks the lemon from the tree, but Trevor realizes that his friend has left a gift: The lemon’s tumble shakes the grown sunflower below, and brightly colored birds—new friends—soon come by to ask if they might share the stripy seeds with Trevor, and something big and lovely comes to Trevor as a result of his odd but memorable friendship. Both poignant and triumphant at once. – Kirkus, starred review

Trevor, a little yellow canary, lives a lonely solitary life in his cage in a window. One day, he spots a lemon on a branch just outside, and ventures out to meet his potential new friend, whom he mistakes for another canary. Trevor wants to be a good friend; he shares his favorite seeds, sings songs, and builds a nest for the two of them. Sometimes Trevor gets mad at his friend, but also forgives him. One day, a big storm comes and knocks the lemon out of the nest. At first Trevor is very sad at the loss of his friend, but when a group of new bright-eyed birds come along, he offers to share his seeds with them. After all, his friend would have wanted it that way. Averbeck offers a lovely ode to friendship that gets even better with repeat readings. The deceptively simplistic acrylic illustrations on wood offer an endearing counterpoint to the charming story. VERDICT Pair this with Philip Stead’s Hello, My Name is Ruby for a sweet friendship storytime featuring adorable little birds. Highly recommended.–Jessica Marie, Salem Public Library, OR, School Library Journal, starred review