South’s storyline is reminiscent of other tender reads where an injured bird is cared for by a lone soul, such as Pandora by Victoria Turnbull. The two share more commonalities—breathtaking illustrations, those pages where you pause in awe and examine every detail, themes of kindness and friendship.
A fisherman sits on the bow of his boat in an icy sea, strumming on his banjo, when an unexpected noise captures his attention. In the corner of the boat he finds a feathered traveller with a broken wing. The fisherman takes the bird inside, bandages its wing, and cares for it. Time passes. Days grow colder. The fisherman has an idea. Together they head South, in search of the little bird’s family.
Goodbyes are a part of life. This message comes across with beautiful reverence. And though sadness follows, there is a sweetness to it all—our memories. The fisherman is a quiet, reflective fellow. Though he’s alone now, it’s obvious from the photographs and postcards we see on the walls of his cabin and bridge, that’s he’s had a full life. Perhaps he’s had to say goodbye to others before in the past. Having simple text set against rich, engaging illustrations allows for interpretation. Our own subplots brought to life. This is Daniel Duncan’s debut picture book and it’s a true gem.