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My Dad's a Birdman

My Dad's a Birdman

Written by David Almond

Narrated by Sarah Coomes


My Dad's a Birdman

Written by David Almond

Narrated by Sarah Coomes

ratings:
3/5 (52 ratings)
Length:
1 hour
Released:
Nov 10, 2010
ISBN:
9781441890108
Format:
Audiobook

Description

In a rainy town in the north of England, there are strange goings-on.

Dad is building a pair of wings, eating flies, and feathering his nest. Auntie Doreen is getting cross and making dumplings. Mr. Poop is parading the streets, shouting LOUDER and LOUDER, and even Mr. Mint, the headmaster, is getting in a flap. And watching it all is Lizzie, missing her mam and looking after Dad and thinking how beautiful the birds are.

What's behind it all? It's the Great Human Bird Competition, of course!

Released:
Nov 10, 2010
ISBN:
9781441890108
Format:
Audiobook

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Reviews

What people think about My Dad's a Birdman

3.1
52 ratings / 8 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    This book was about a little girl called Lizzie who's dad is joining the Human Birdman Competition. The competition was 'who can be a bird and use a technique to fly over the Tyne'. Obviously Lizzie doesn't understand, but when she and her dad make a bird's nest, two crests, too beaks, two pairs of wings and signs up on Mr Poop's document, she understands that her dad is just that little bit crazy.

    Lizzie's auntie, Doreen, thinks that this is all utter nonsense (which it is) and calls in Lizzie's head teacher, Mr Mint, to take Lizzie away from her dad's craziness. But Lizzie doesn't want to, and in the end, she and her clever dad (and even Mr Mint) all entered the competition...

    ...And failed.

    "But that doesn't matter, Dad," Lizzie would keep saying, "We had fun making the beaks and crests and wings - and it's not over. We can do that again. So it's not bad that we failed. It would be better if we won, but we didn't, and that's fine."

    This book was more of a strange one, and David Almond must have had a very odd imagination to come up with a man who'd like to enter a bird competition. But some people do have odd ideas, and I'm not saying that David's book wasn't good and that David was weird.
  • (2/5)
    The story as always is well told, I just prefer his darker eccentric characters.
  • (4/5)
    My Dad's a Birdman was written by David Almond, who won the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Award for writing, and illustrated by Polly Dunbar. It was originally published in 2007 by Candlewick Press.Young Lizzie is concerned about her father, who has been acting strangely ever since her mother died. He has been building a set of wings, eating bugs and worms, and working on learning to fly. When the "Great Human Bird Competition" comes to town, Lizzie decides to enter with her dad, in the process gently helping him to redefine the line between reality and fantasy, and reminding him of the importance of family and love, even in the face of loss.This quirky little novel is beautifully and subtly written, with memorable characters, including not only Lizzie and her dad, but Lizzie's Aunt Doreen and teacher, Mr. Mint. The writing is perfectly complemented by Dunbar's whimsical and colourful illustrations. Children will enjoy the offbeat plot, and will be able to identify with the way Lizzie's dad gets so involved in his fantasy. They will especially appreciate the role reversal between the wise young Lizzie and her father, which is so cleverly and comically portrayed. This book is appropriate for ages 6 to 10.
  • (4/5)
    Reason for Reading: I am quite fond of David Almond as an author. He reminds me of Roald Dahl with his mixture of humour and darkness but he isn't so obvious as Dahl.This certainly is a quite a beautiful story. Using metaphors and imagery of flight and birds to help a father and daughter overcome the grief from the death of the mother makes for a touching story. On the surface we have a silly, whimsical, humorous story of a dad who is turning into a bird so he can win the Great Human Bird Competition, right down to living on bugs and worms and building a huge nest in the middle of the kitchen floor. Underneath the story is about a man who literally looses his mind when his wife dies and becomes obsessed with birds while the daughter takes on the parental role of looking after him, to see him through this rough patch.The story is hilarious with the antics of dad; then enter Auntie Doreen and her baking dumplings as a cure for everything that ails one and throwing them when it doesn't work. There is a riot of colour and silliness when the Great Human Bird Competition begins and we see and watch all the other contestants as they try to fly over the river to win money in all sorts of contraptions and get ups. But there is a small darkness beneath everything that gradually lightens throughout the story. The mom's death is only barely even referred to; the words death and die are never used. Underlying the dad's silly behaviour is his grief, to the astute reader, and underneath the daughter's looking after her dad is the need to know he is still there for her. They both need to know that though mom is gone they still have each other. Through the use of birds, flight, metaphors and other references to going up they let their grief go and one can even feel a religiousness in the upward/skyward theme if one's thoughts turn that way. A touching, yet hilarious story.
  • (1/5)
    What a funny silly story! Odd but interesting with peculiar people who dare to different things. Lizzie's Dad is the birdman. He's obsessed about the flying contest and does everyting to make self into a birds so he can fly. He wears feathers, sits in nest, eats worms. Lizzie gets into the act too much to the dismay of her Aunt Doreen. Then there is Mr. Poop who is charge of the contest. British humor at its best. A fun read aloud.
  • (3/5)
    This book got great reviews, but I couldn't get past the incongruity between the humorous treatment and tremendously sad underpinnings. This brave and competent little girl having to take care of her totally nuts father - it just didn't make sense with the whimiscal, style. Lovely, equally whimsical illustrations match the style but only add to the contradiction.
  • (5/5)
    Lizzie's a bright, independent girl who gets her self up in the morning, gets dressed, makes tea and toast, and calls her dad down to breakfast. But dad drags. Dad droops. And when asked what his plans are for the day while she's at school dad announces that he's going to fly like a bird and enter the human bird competition. Suddenly we are faced with a role reversal of a responsible parent-like child and a child-like parent. What would cause this reversal only becomes obvious by the lack, and no mention of, Lizzie's mother. This is made clear a few chapters in when Lizzie's Aunt Doreen drops by to see to how Lizzie and her dad are getting along. Once she sees that dad has fashioned a set of wings for himself and has taken to eating bugs (in order to be more bird-like), and that Lizzie has taken to staying home from school to watch after her dad it becomes painfully clear that we are dealing with a great unspoken grief.In the end Lizzie and her dad participate together in the Great Human Bird Competition, a sort of flugtag where people adorn themselves in wings and rockets and whatnot and attempt to traverse a body of water propelled under their own power. Dad's obsession with flying at first seems a bi-product of a mental break-down, but as Lizzie (and eventually her Headmaster) discover as they participate in the competition, the act of faith necessary to hurl yourself into the world is exactly what they both need in order to move ahead with their lives. Feeling more alive than before, they reconnoiter back at Aunt Doreen's for some dumplings and find themselves dancing with a new-found joy, a joy that leaves them lighter than birds and flying off the ground.Almond has managed to dip his pen into Roald Dahl's inkwell and produce a magnificent examination of what it means to find joy after loss, for a family to find their way through the other side of the darkness no matter how odd it may look on the outside. Aunt Doreen and the Headmaster understand the situation and are keeping tabs to make sure that Lizzie and her dad don't fall to far off track, but they hang back enough to let the process run its course.The feel of this book is what gives it the Dahl flavor in my mind. It would be hard to imagine this story in a contemporary environment without meddling government agencies and relatives who would insist on remaining in the home to assure everything was alright. Aunt Doreen makes a social call but is driven from the house by the sheer absurdity of it all, promising to return with help. The help she return with isn't the police or child protective services but the school headmaster who is more interested in joining Lizzie and her dad in their adventure rather than find fault, place a judgment, or insist on a return to normalcy. It is also in the child as the responsible one and the adults as fools that I find the spectre of Dahl lurking.Almond can't seem to get away from the connections he makes with birds and death, and certainly there's enough mythology, symbolism, and history to support these connections. But Almond chose the bird's ability to fly to show a rising above, a phoenix-like symbolism for a family being reborn from the ashes of their sorrow. There is nothing sad or sorrowful in the book itself, the entire affair has a sense of whimsy to it, but it's all there just below the surface allowing us to how happiness and joy can re-emerge from experience.
  • (3/5)
    Narrated by Sarah Coombs. It’s just Lizzie and Dad after Mum’s passing. Lizzie is very protective of her father especially given his current odd behavior: he is attempting to fly and act like a bird. Lizzie sees how important this is to him and she joins him in the human bird competition over the protests of her Auntie Doreen. Coombs reads energetically in a lilting cockney accent, expressing Lizzie's warmth and affection for her father. This story is a bit of an odd duck, though.