I don’t know where I came across The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker, the debut novel of Australian author Matilda Woods. But I am grateful I did. I loved this book from its opening sentences to the closing paragraph.
Set in the town of Allora, bordering a violent sea and famous for flying fish, The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker tells the story of Alberto, the coffin maker. The widower, bereaved of wife and children, lives alone, caring for the dead of the town. His life changes with the appearance of the orphan, Tito Bonito, and his pet bird, Fia.
Woods introduces us to a delightful cast of characters. She weaves suspense, magic, and joy into a story of intergenerational love and compassion.
The occasional illustrations of Anuska Allepuz add to the charm of this beautiful book. (It is worth buying in hardback if you can find it.)
My children (from ages 16 to 6) listened intently. They begged each night for me to read more until it concluded.
I’ve already ordered her follow-up novel, The Girl, the Cat and the Navigator.
If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for your middle-grade reader, pick this up. If you’re in need of something to read to your younger children this winter, this is it. (But I wouldn’t blame you if you read them for yourself.)
Be sure to enter my November Giveaway, featuring women artists, authors, and musicians. Over 21 prizes totaling up to $750! Enter daily here.