The Wishbird written & illustrated by Gabrielle Wang
Published by Penguin Publishers
Award winning author Gabrielle Wang has delivered a beautifully crafted, oriental tale with her latest publication ‘The Wishbird’.
We follow the adventure of a delicate, young heroine named ‘Oriole’. Oriole is no ordinary girl she has lived in the forest all her life, possesses a enchanting singing tongue and has never seen another human being. The company she keeps are the birds of the forest and beloved companion ‘Mellow” who is a magical wishbird. When Mellow falls gravely ill, heartbroken Oriole realises she must leave her forest sanctuary and enter the city of ‘Soulless’ also known as ‘Solace’ to seek out the king and find a cure.
Oriole finds the city of “Souless” exactly that, lifeless, drab and cheerless. The dying king has outlawed music and Oriole is quickly imprisoned because of her singing tongue. Then fate brings her together with street urchin Boy who becomes fascinated with the mysterious girl. After a brave rescue, Oriole and Boy realise they must restore the health of the wishbird and the dying king, whose lives are bound unto each others. To do this our young heroes must save the city from an invading army and an evil traitor. Finally they will restore music and joy to the king and to the citizens of Solace.
The Wishbird is a compelling journey of love, kindness and deliverance. It contains a touching message that music can empower us to think about our own actions. For example, I would have loved to known the words that Oriole sung when she calmed the barbarian army, but on closer reflection, my own imagination had answered that for me. I highly recommend The Wishbird to readers mid to late primary school ages.
CKT Book Reviewer